Should we be concerned with the pace of innovation? We adapt quickly to marginal changes in our lives brought to us by apps, healthcare improvements, entertainment quality (Netflix!), and so much more. Yet according to this week’s guest, our understanding of the underlying technology continue to lag. In this episode, author and entrepreneur Patrick Collision of Stripe, a firm that creates online payment platforms and other tools for firms to build a marketplace, talks with host Russ Roberts about ideas that might invigorate scientific discovery in tandem with the current  increases in numbers of scientists.

“What will make the whole thing work better?” is a question we hope you will continue to consider. Use the prompts below, and let’s continue the conversation.


1- What is the “common story problem” made by firms that Collision identifies using the Paypal-Ebay example? 


2- Claiming luck to be part of the wide adoption, Collision notes that he and his brother identified “a kind of oddly missing component of sort of the building blocks of the Internet”.  Do you believe innovation opportunities like this one – solving people’s problems- are increasing or decreasing? Why?


3- How does Roberts question the value of technology advancement and growth to support his argument against the proposed concern that the rate of progress in science and innovation is declining very rapidly per person? 


4- What might be an example of the lowered rate of TFP (total factor productivity) due to changes in the tangle of legislation, rules of the game, and cultural norms? What are other examples of such changes, and what is their effect? 


5- To this excellent question posed by Roberts: “and, the challenge is: what kind of changes would we think about that would let us get to that more innovative, wild west frontier?” How do you rank the ideas of anonymous funding allocation? Scientists, rather than institutions directing funding, or other models to reduce risk aversion? Encouraging opportunity and ideas that enable the “very outside-the-box mind to flourish”? What other suggestions can you  offer?