The second source of stimulus satisfaction considered by Scitovsky is work. This is surprising to economists because they usually regard work as a disutility paid for money earnings. Scitovsky thus added a non-economic motivation which may underlie work choices, and further observed that work satisfaction is heterogeneous among people. In particular, richer people are more satisfied with their jobs (Scitovsky 1986 [1973]: 17-18; 1992a [1976]: 293-294). The third source of stimulus satisfaction derives from changes in durable consumption, that is, consumers appreciate consumption over and above satisfaction of their demand for the goods that they intend to buy because they also enjoy novelty (Scitovsky 1986 [1973]: 18-19). Thus another non-economic motivation is added to the economic one. The fourth source of stimulus satisfaction consists of leisure activities, such as hobbies (Scitovsky 1986 [1981]: 130-132). Activities of this kind may overlap with companionship and the consumption of durable goods. Therefore, this is something more than time free from work. Scitovsky identified a further source of stimulus satisfaction, but this in fact characterises all the previous sources, although to different extents. This source is enjoyable learning as the pleasure of searching for novelty, of being properly challenged by it, and of gaining knowledge about both the outside world and personal capacities. In this way, companionship acquires the special characteristic of

being the opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from others; work can be seen as an opportunity to learn, or even to produce novelty for others, as in research and artistic work; consumption and leisure afford exciting opportunities to learn something new, rather than carry out routine activities. Hence learning with enjoyment becomes a creative activity for those who engage in it, and possibly for others, because it opens new avenues for companionship, work, consumption, and leisure. When Scitovsky discussed this enjoyable learning in The Joyless Economy, he had in mind the process of acquisition and generation of culture. Indeed, ‘[c]ultural activity [. . .] is a labor of love, performed not for love of the person who benefits, but for love of the activity itself ’ (Scitovsky, 1992a [1976]: 295), with the consequence that it gives ‘satisfaction [. . .] to those who actively engage in them and to others also affected’ (Scitovsky 1992a [1976]: 294; see also Ch. 11). Only subsequently did Scitovsky fully realise the importance of education, and especially of parenting and early education, in order to learn enjoyably (Scitovsky 1996, 2000).2 Therefore, the stock of knowledge and experience that the individual accumulates during her life – which Scitovsky called ‘life skill’ – has a social dimension because of its social origin and social externalities. Scitovsky also considered a final and distinct source of stimulus satisfaction. This, however, is a ‘malign’ one because it gives rise to risky and anti-social activities such as drug consumption, crime, and violence. In this case, in contrast to the positive social externalities of learning, the effects are negative for people’s abilities and well-being (Scitovsky 1992a [1976]: 294). This map of the sources of stimulus satisfaction is very helpful for two reasons. First, it lays the basis for the study of human welfare, and the role played in it by economic welfare. Scitovsky took some important steps in this direction by proposing groupings of activities as characterised by different effects on the development of people’s capacities, and on their well-being. Second, this analysis enabled Scitovsky to advance an original interpretation of why people are not necessarily able fully to achieve such development, so that dissatisfaction may emerge even in the midst of opulence. The question at the centre of Chapter 1 – whether the economy is able to ensure that people’s lives are happy – can thus find an answer. Unfortunately, Scitovsky’s analysis of human welfare suffers from two major weaknesses. First, he used a peculiar approach, that is, the ‘arousal approach’, as the psychological basis for his analysis. This approach is rather crude because it refers to physical stimuli, sensory perceptions, and simple degrees of activation of the nervous system. It might be usefully employed in the analysis of consumers’ choices and the ensuing experiences when the choice set is restricted to products. But when the choice set also includes companionship, work, and leisure activities as characterised by pleasurable learning, then the ‘arousal approach’ becomes insufficient to explain the dynamics of choice, skill, and well-being. Indeed, the modern psychologists who follow Berlyne’s suggestions to study the welfare benefits of curiosity have mostly abandoned the concept of ‘arousal’ and provided interesting alternatives.