I also wonder, how many blocks per hour are SOLVED? This number should be a little bit higher than the number of blocks ACCEPTED by network because of collisions. While I saw some estimates about collision rate here, as far as I know we never tried to measure actual collision rate and compare it to our estimate.
The difficulty for generating new coins is adjusted to set up a situation where one new bitcoin (generated) block is created about every 10 minutes.... somewhere on the network. That would average out to be about six per hour.
As far as the collision rate, I don't know what that number really is. For me, I would rather see more coin blocks generated, but for fewer coins in each new coin block. The question is in terms of how much "noise" this would create if there were new blocks generated every few seconds and how much network traffic would have to cope with this increased production of coin blocks. In other words, if the difficulty were dropped to 10% of the current difficulty, but new blocks were only worth 5 BTC, it would still be roughly the same increase in new coins being generated but those coins would be distributed to more people.
The question is if this kind of change would adversely impact the network?
A side effect of having so many people on the network right now generating (and using) Bitcoins is that when you do "discover" a new coin block, the value of those BTC is higher. This has been reflected in the various exchanges already.
BTW, I have yet to generate any bitcoins myself, and I've been using the software for close to a month. Instead of worrying about how to "find" the bitcoins I'm trying to find ways to "earn" the coins instead. Yes, I got a couple of ideas on that front too.
It would very negatively impact the network. The amount of bitcoins awarded is much more arbitrary than the amount of time to generate a block. As I understand it, Satoshi just picked what he thought was a good total amount of bitcoins and how long he wanted it to take to distribute them. But the ten minutes per block was to ensure a stable network as the network expands.