I’m now at a point where if for some reason I can’t use my cell phone or iPod (because I forgot it somewhere, because it ran out of batteries) I miss it, even though before these gadgets existed, I managed to get along just fine without them. One might think, then, that there’s no point in ever acquiring such things. The happiness boost is merely temporary. But while that’s true of each individual gadget, the fact that new cool stuff is being invented and brought to market all the time is an ongoing process that creates many happiness-enhancing moments over the years. A growth-free society would be one in which people were basically deprived of such moments.
Matt Yglesias offers more.