Innovation That Matters

Morality bank in China rewards do-gooders


A rewards system in Yanji, China accredits points to individuals who do good — from mowing lawns to donating stem cells.

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We recently saw a Swedish social platform that tracks users’ behaviors and translates their good deeds into a kindness score. This rewards system — whether it encourages users to perform good deeds out of kindness or for points — is a refreshing alternative to the social currency of ‘likes’ that millenials have become crazed for.

Similarly in Chinese city Yanji, a morality bank run by local authorities now rewards people with free services, in exchange for doing something positive in the community. The do-gooders can earn points, which are awarded based on the nature of the good deed — helping someone in a dangerous situation earns 300-500, while donating stem cells equates to 1000 points. Small time do-gooders can earn 20 for fixing appliances, or providing help in emergencies for 30-50. Those in the community needing help can apply to the morality bank and request assistance from their neighbors. The free services that can be exchanged for morality points include health check-ups, free haircuts, or home cleaning sessions. Those who would rather earn street cred can accumulate 6000 points and receive a “model of community morals” certification.

More than 600 people have joined since the bank opened a few weeks ago. Though many have criticized the initiative, saying that doing good should not have to be incentivized with rewards — a popular Chinese saying goes “Do good and don’t leave a name” — there surely is no harm in promoting positive actions. The initiative hopes to eventually build a society of moral citizens who will voluntarily show acts of kindness. What other schemes could encourage kindness and good deeds?


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