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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If You Like a Healthy Local Environment, Thank a NIMBY Two weeks ago we featured the story of some citizens in Malibu, California, who were wresting control of major land-use decisions from a city council that too often bows to developer influence. One commentator took the unusual position of defending NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard). Today we honor another NIMBY defense, this one in Southern Maryland Online, by long-time environmental journalist Tom Horton. Horton comments on thinking that too often stops people, cities, states and nations from adopting sustainable population policies. It always starts with a conversation like this: “Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure. Who are you to say how many...
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Proliferating People a Mere Nuisance to Colorado Water Plans A headline like this begs for a spot on the Growth Bias Busted Wall of Shame: Colorado Girds for Proliferating People and Increasingly Scarce Water Why wouldn’t I be celebrating coverage of the challenges presented by population growth? It’s simple. This story treats population growth as inevitable, and does not include in its water-scarcity responses doing something about the population – like stabilizing or contracting it (it’s actually not that difficult).  I’m afraid Denver Post reporter Bruce Finley has fallen into the same trap that snares 96% of journalists. This report is stuck inside the box defined by a set of...
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Save Water So We Can Grow! In the arid American West, just about any idea to save water seems like a good one. I’m reminded of the Mad Magazine sticker I saw as a kid: Save Water – Shower With Your Steady This story about eliminating property taxes to conserve water introduces some interesting motives and myths to the issue. “A new report shows that the elimination of property taxes funneled to water suppliers could save significant amounts of water in the nation's second driest state and have the largest users — government and the wealthy — paying the ‘true’ cost of water." If property taxes subsidize water supply...
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Okotoks Drools Over Plan to Kill Goose Joe Bish, of Population Media Center, brought this story to my attention yesterday. The headline and subhead say it all: Okotoks Gets Ready For The Big Boom With 60-Year-PlanCity With Small-Town Soul Plans For Impressive Growth I share (and shame) it here because of what Bish describes as, the “un-abandoned glee and mirth that city managers and development corporations are experiencing -- as the ‘new plan’ is to gun for a population of 82,000 as soon as possible.” This, for a small Canadian town that in 2012 removed its population cap of 30,000, which was based on an assessment of the town’s...
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Growth Fever Contagion Identified in Reporting on Growth This story from Inside Tucson Business is a classic example of why we started Growth Bias Busted. Promising Future For Marana; Growth In Population, Employment And Income probably raised no red flags for the vast majority of readers.  “From 2010 to now the population has increased from about 35,000 residents to 40,000. Curt Woody, economic development and strategic initiatives manager, recognizes the mayor and council and supportive residents for the town’s growth.” It blithely assumes that population growth is good for the town of Marana. It assumes there is nothing controversial or even debatable about this. And it assumes there is...
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