What is Pro-Growth Bias?

Pro-Growth Bias is reflected in the media by the stories and words chosen, which hint and often trumpet that economic, population, and consumption growth is good and essential. We're here to expose the bias and encourage more balanced and thoughtful journalism. Here you can vote, discuss, and even post stories exemplifying the bias.

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Loony Reasons to Make More Babies Why do we need our economy to grow? This is a question never asked in mainstream media – and rarely asked anywhere. Matt Phillips chose a different question in a piece for Quartz: Women are Going to Save Japan His first paragraph guaranteed this report a place on our Wall of Shame: "Why do economies grow? It’s a simple recipe, actually. Add rising labor productivity—total output per worker—to an increase in the number of people working, or some combination of the two. Shake vigorously. Voilà. But it’s easier said than done, especially for countries like Japan where populations are stagnant or...
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St. George Ranks High for Unsustainability The U.S. Chamber of Commerce lands on our Wall of Shame today for a celebration of all things unsustainable in Is Silicon Valley’s Future In St. George, Utah? “St. George is a formidable urban center on its own. This is reflected in the latest population figures released for the St. George metropolitan area, which…ranked among the fastest-growing areas in the country.” Until we get over “ranking” cities for population growth (and putting the fastest growing at the TOP of the rankings), we will be stuck in the 20th century settle-the-wild-frontier mindset that population growth is something to pursue and celebrate. Not a...
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Can California Innovate Past Laws of Sustainability? California’s fresh water crisis gets plenty of media attention these days. The End of California? seems worthy of our attention because of its optimism. New York Times contributor Timothy Egan has written well about this subject. His work might just as easily land on our Wall of Fame. But today I do want to put a spotlight on what I’m dropping into a very large file-drawer labeled “techno-optimism.” “California will survive. It’s not going to blow away. The economy, now on a robust rebound, is not going to collapse. There won’t be a Tom Joad load of S.U.V.s headed north. Rains, and snow...
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Blackstone Advisor: Not Enough Consumers I’m saving the best for last, so stay with me. This statement from a Blackstone Advisory Partners executive in his Market Commentary blog got my attention: “An exhaustive and important study by the McKinsey Global Institute concludes that over the next 50 years population growth will decline to .3% annually.  If productivity continues to contribute 1.8%, overall [GDP] growth will decline to 2.1%, a rate 40% less than during the past half-century.  The implications of this slowdown on global changes in the standard of living and investment opportunities could be enormous.”  Right off the bat, either McKinsey or Blackstone are assuming 2.1% annual...
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Growth Kool-Aid from USA Today USA Today makes the Wall of Shame today for biased reporting. This story by Paul Davidson and Doug Carroll clearly demonstrates how unexamined assumptions pervade economics reporting and reinforce the myths that are driving our civilization off a cliff: What to Watch in Economic News This Week That seems innocuous enough, but that apparent innocence actually adds to a story’s power to define our culture of growth. The growthisms throughout this story are presented not as one perspective, but as universal truths. That leaves readers with the impression they are uncontested; that there are no negative consequences of our endless pursuit...
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Sanford: Growth Mythology on Parade Yesterday the Wall of Shame spotlighted particularly biased reporting by an Australian journalist, celebrating without question the economic, population and consumption growth of the state of New South Wales. Today I’m featuring the words of a community leader and policymaker in the city of Sanford, North Carolina. The Sanford Herald recently ran this letter from Richard Hayes, a former county commissioner: Sanford Must Summon Courage to Overcome Obstacles The letter’s first paragraph contains all the usual suspects in growth mythology (I’ve underlined the culprits): “The Sanford Herald has pinpointed various activities Sanford leaders have planned to ensure quality economic growth and to...
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