Prizes create a kind of artificial economic system that maintains most of the key advantages of the free market. They create incentives and competition, and they diversify the number of minds working on the problem. But the prizes eliminate wasteful spending, since they are rewarded only when genuine solutions have been achieved. And when combined with limits on patent monopolies, prizes can ensure that those innovations will flow more readily through the society at large.

Steven Johnson on why we beed an X-Prize for drugs. Johnson’s latest book, Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age, is a must-read. (via explore-blog)

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