The Citizen, the Tyrant, and the Tyranny of Patterns

Good citizenship cannot be captured or fixed by an algorithm, because: (1) people genuinely disagree about what good citizenship is; (2) there are limits to how any conception of good citizenship can be enforced in states that uphold the rule-of-law; and (3) even the best scheme of algorithmic citizenship would fail to achieve its objectives due to the inherent weaknesses of applying algorithms to social affairs.

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An Illusion of Western Democracies

The thesis I propose is that the reason why the Social Credit System so scandalises Westerners is not because it is contrary to ‘our’ Aristotelian and Arendtian liberal political tradition. Rather, it is precisely because it shows the illusion upon which this tradition is founded. This consists in believing that there is a void at our disposal between people as ‘free’ citizens and the political as a set of laws.

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Rewarding Virtuous Citizens

The Chinese Social Credit System, in particular as presented by Western media, is widely seen as the height of technological dystopia. But is that intuition well founded? Wessel Reijers has sought to identify features that he takes to justify a rejection of the Chinese Social Credit System but forgoes an equally critical consideration of the alternatives. Relying on the market, the default solution of Western societies, is not obviously more just.

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How to Make the Perfect Citizen?

The Chinese Social Credit System gets easily likened to dystopian science fiction scenarios in the West, which at least in part seems to be related to the authoritarian character of the Chinese state. But we should assess the Social Credit System in its own right, asking: is the implementation of a Social Credit System leading to a dystopian political system?

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From Defensive to Assertive: China’s White Paper on Human Rights

On December 12th 2018 the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) published a white paper (WP) titled ‘Progress in Human Rights over the 40 Years of Reform and Opening Up in China.’ The paper, which seems to be targeting more foreign audience than a domestic one, reflects upon the progress China has made in the field of human rights since Deng Xiaoping’s liberalization and opening up reforms that began in 1978.

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Google vs. China

Googles Entscheidung, nicht mehr mit den chinesischen Zensurbehörden zu kooperieren, elektrisiert. Und zwar nicht nur, weil wir alle den Chinesen Informationsfreiheit und den chinesischen Zensoren die Pest an den Hals wünschen. Natürlich ist es ein aufregendes Spektakel, wenn sich ein globaler Corporate-Gigant mit dem vor ökonomischer Kraft berstenden Riesenstaat anlegt. Das hat etwas von King […]

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