The Reputation Economy is coming. Reputation has been important in societies, but has largely been a general, unofficial, subjective measure of a person. As societies have become more organized, reputations have become based on various scores: wealth, credit rating, number of political followers. This is true in free-market societies as well as autocratic ones. As the measures have become more objective they’ve become more mechanical. China is taking the next step. China already tracks a person from the time they reach high school. Now, partly thanks to information technology, they will be given a score, that will be used to prioritize people’s privileges. Unofficial systems exist outside China, but they have been limited to mostly online non-governmental systems: approval rankings, Followers, Likes, page ranks, etc. There’s even aggregators like Klout which measure the effectiveness of your online presence; but China’s step is the significant because it is official, governmental, and affects 19% of the world’s population. From that measure, the Reputation Economy has already arrived – in China.
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