Well, it depends on the nature of the growth.
Everybody understands that a rapid increase of the currency in circulation is a ready path to inflation. They also get that accelerating growth concentrated in one economic sector will risk intensifying problems in other sectors that aren't participating in the advance.
Yet growth is still widely perceived as being a good in itself - a kind of general elixir for whatever ails a market.
How many times during the ongoing political campaign have we seen "growth" as the key to:
- increasing employment;
- reducing the budget deficit;
- allowing a reduction in taxes;
- permitting an increase in benefits;
- creating better business startup opportunities; or
- curing the common cold (or just about anything else that comes to mind)?
Pundits translate sluggish energy demand into a concern about economic decline. Expanding demand, on the other hand, is always regarded as evidence of everything that's noble and right about capitalism.
The point is made in both directions, actually.
Some consider an improvement in energy demand to be an indicator of an improving (by definition an expanding) economy. Others see signals of economic growth as a springboard for expanding fuel and power demand.
Either way, economic growth is the essential foundation upon which investment decisions are made in the energy sector. Positive or negative spin is given as part of every argument over oil, gas, nuclear, renewable and alternative sources, or biofuel advance.
Seems logical enough.
Yet consider this....