The ironic response of the US asking India to be more open and encourage international companies makes one wonder about the impact of the midterm elections in the US.
Let’s ruminate a bit on it.
The Midterms 2018
The US midterms-2018 has split the political struggles of the legislature between the Democrats and Republicans who insist on the deregulation for rules on processing payments and creating a focus on the protection of US consumers. It even brought in changes in the committee leadership creating a political-stalemate with a wafer-thin majority. While opposing sides claim to promote innovation and technological progress, their policies are in opposition to crucial issues affecting the fintech industry.
The Democratic stance is over-sighted and could harm market-based developmental pushes, while the Republican stance is isolated and not in the interests of international cooperation or an unregulated internet. It is a no-win situation with the Democratic control of the House giving congressional action proposals which face vetoes or stalling in the Senate.
Effects on Innovation
The financial technology based e-commerce and payments across borders developers using blockchains, clouds, and mobile apps will now think twice about the US first and excesses reining in policies. Though it was proposed by Steven Mnuchin the Treasury Secretary to offer fintech startups, identity-based technology, and sandboxes regulatory relief even temporarily as in the UK, the Democrats shut it down. The administration, however, ended the policy of internet neutrality vital to technology development and innovation.
The Trump administration’s stance on immigration curtails benefits to skilled tech workers which in turn will affect the global tech-markets and America’s competitiveness. Political pressures have also affected the data protection policy and impacted fintech companies as a result. In the political chasm is the open data rule.
Learning from the Midterms
Fintech courses would do well to study both Trumpism and Brexit and their core policy of isolationism favouring domestic-development. Western payments companies like Paypal, Stripe, Mastercard, Visa, Walmart, Amazon, and others are now in a state of flux and uncertainty. The vital markets of China and India now require local-presence to make or offer payments in them. India also requires local data storage which it terms a security measure while silently promoting Paytm a local mobile payments solution. The success of the UK’s sandbox concept is affected by the Brexit’s uncertainty. Meanwhile, Lithuania emerged as a fintech hub for the fleeing fintech companies.
The net result is that sanctions and an uncertain political environment become a hurdle to both technology and market development. The US stalemate is its own foe irrespective of any political party’s vision.