Type of Work

Research Paper

Publication Date

2019

Description

India and China have committed themselves to the largest projects of data-driven, social mapping in history. India, with its Aadhaar biometric identification program (also known as UID), aims to assign every Indian a unique identification number tied to a fingerprint or iris scan. China, with the Social Credit System (SCS), will integrate the financial, social, criminal, and online browsing information of every person and business agency in order to give a score representing their trustworthiness.This paper will comparatively examine both of these systems in order to answer the research question, Why are India and China pursuing expansive domestic datafication projects? It argues that India’s UID (Aadhaar) and China’s SCS, while different technological systems in different sociopolitical contexts, both evidence the same neoliberal trend towards data-driven development. The comparative results yield shared characteristics that align with a current global neoliberal pattern, including: media and state justification through economic development; datafication built on a “corporate-state nexus”; and, a quest for financial inclusion that has enabled commercial profiteering. These systems bring technological efficiency that consolidates power in the hands of the state with the grip of the market. The paper concludes by remarking that despite the Orwellian portrayal of these systems in the West, they demonstrate the same pattern of informational capitalism plaguing the West.

Hamilton Areas of Study

Government

Hamilton Sponsoring Organization

Levitt Public Affairs Center

Hamilton Scholarship Series

Levitt Summer Research Fellowship

Hamilton Faculty Advisor

Alexsia Chan

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