Why the most intuitive explanation for ideas getting harder to find is wrong

Seeds of Science:

But without knowing the underlying kinetics of science and economic growth, this inertia model is just a guess. There are lots of other explanations which are consistent with the observation of diverging fuel use and acceleration. Our car could be going up a hill, or over a rough and rocky road. Or our engine could be depreciating or using the extra fuel inefficiently. Similarly, the ideas we produce might face growing barriers before they can materialize as physical products and buildings which affect productivity. Or our institutions of science are squandering the extra resources they receive with inefficient institutional designs.

The title of my post was “Something Is Getting Harder But It’s Not Finding Ideas” but I really only end up proving that Something Is Getting Harder And We Aren’t Sure What. This post gets closer to fulfilling my original promise by addressing one of the most common arguments for why ideas really are getting harder to find: the burden of knowledge.