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Patrick Collison: Stripes founder says Ireland is a good example of how a society can be reimagined


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Patrick Collison, the founder and CEO of Stripe, believes that Ireland serves as a prime example of how societies can reimagine themselves and achieve success. Speaking at an event in Dublin commemorating the 60th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s visit to Ireland, Collison discussed the transformative power of working towards common goals.

Collison highlighted the progress Ireland has made by addressing self-imposed causes of poverty that hindered its development until the 1960s or 1970s. He joined economist Lant Pritchett in a conversation at Trinity College Dublin, focusing on the topic of reimagining human progress and potential, inspired by JFK’s famous “moonshot” speech. They explored issues such as the pace of economic, scientific, and technological advancements and potential strategies to accelerate progress.

While acknowledging that more people are involved in expanding knowledge and pushing the boundaries of innovation, Collison noted that the rate of total factor productivity (TFP), a measure of technological impact in economics, peaked in the 1970s and has since experienced a gradual decline. Despite individuals working harder, productivity growth has stagnated.

Collison suggested that societies might have already capitalized on the low-hanging fruits of progress, making it necessary to climb higher on the tree to access new discoveries and knowledge. Nevertheless, he emphasized the importance of continuing to strive for progress, pointing out that the world as a whole is still far from achieving the level of prosperity necessary for everyone to live acceptable and desirable lives.

It has been 61 years since JFK delivered his iconic moonshot speech, where he emphasized the United States’ ambition to become a leader in space exploration. Collison’s company, Stripe, a highly valued privately-owned firm based in Silicon Valley with headquarters in San Francisco and Dublin, focuses on building software and payment infrastructure to enable businesses to accept online and cross-border payments. Stripe has processed hundreds of billions of dollars in transactions for notable customers such as Amazon, Google, Ford, Shopify, and Instacart. While the company experienced a decline in valuation earlier this year, it remains a significant player in the payments industry.

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