To improve standards of living, Yang is proposing a new currency called digital social credit, “which can be converted into dollars and used to reward people and organizations who drive significant social value.”
Yang believes in “human-centered capitalism.” He says the success of the country should not just be measured by GDP, but also by measurements of median income, health-adjusted life expectancy, mental health, childhood success rates, social and economic mobility and absence of substance abuse.
Conservative media sites have compared the plan to China’s social credit system, which allows the Chinese government to share information on its citizens’ trustworthiness and issue penalties based on a social credit score. Yang’s chief of staff, Matthew Shinners, defended the proposal to conservative site The Daily Caller. Yang’s idea, Shinners said, is not similar to China’s system, which is more like a rating on citizens rather than a system of credits that they can benefit from.
Yang’s office did not respond to CNBC’s repeated requests for comment.
Update: Yang’s Freedom Dividend originally proposed to give American adults between the ages of 18 to 64 a monthly $1,000 stipend. This story was updated to reflect that Yang is now proposing his universal basic income plan for all American adults 18 and older.