Religion & Liberty Online

Doug Bandow: China exports its ‘social credit’ system to Venezuela

China’s social credit system seeks to tie each individual’s credit rating and privileges to his support for the Communist regime. Venezuela’s socialist dictator, Nicolás Maduro, has moved to import “perhaps the creepiest tool of repression” to his own country, writes Doug Bandow in this week’s Acton Commentary.

Bandow, a senior rellow at the Cato Institute and former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, writes that the metastasizing Big Brother program proves that government surveillance is an integral feature of socialism:

The system would essentially establish a “credit” rating for individuals and firms. Be a good citizen and you get financial discounts, better loan terms, and exemption from deposit requirements. Fail to meet the state’s criteria and your child can forget getting into a good university. If the government judges you to be socially bankrupt, you can’t buy a train ticket, rent a hotel room, or even use a credit card. … Companies could be treated similarly, with disparate treatment in terms of taxation, credit, and more. …

A decade ago, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez sent officials to China to learn about its national ID program. … In succeeding years, nothing much happened. However, three years ago, the 1984 nightmare reemerged. … With food scarce, medicine nonexistent, and inflation beyond measure, the Nicolás Maduro regime is spending $70 million to create a national database and mobile payment system.

Read the full commentary here.

(Photo credit: AgênciaBrasil. This photo has been cropped. CC BY-3.0 BR.)

Rev. Ben Johnson

Rev. Ben Johnson (@therightswriter) is an Eastern Orthodox priest and served as Executive Editor of the Acton Institute (2016-2021), editing Religion & Liberty, the Powerblog, and its transatlantic website. He has extensively researched the Alt-Right. Previously, he worked for LifeSiteNews and, where he wrote three books including Party of Defeat (with David Horowitz, 2008). His work has appeared at, National Review, The American Spectator, The Guardian, Daily Caller, National Catholic Register, Spectator USA, FEE Online, RealClear Policy, The Blaze, The Stream, American Greatness, Aleteia, Providence Magazine, Charisma, Jewish World Review, Human Events, Intellectual Takeout,, Issues & Insights, The Conservative,, and The American Orthodox Institute. His personal websites are and His views are his own.