See also The Globalisation Index
Footnote for Listener 9 May 1998
BOOSTING THE ECONOMY
Jim McAloon’s very readable Nelson: A Regional History, describes “boosterism”, when nineteenth century locals put up provincial development projects, which were not very financially viable, but from which the advocates would benefit from fees, contracts, and property speculation, even if the investment failed.
Shortly after the 1991 “mother of all budgets”, a couple of public relations consultants from a minister and a major interest group, visited our media editors. They asked the media to stop using certain commentators who were considered too pessimistic. Stout independent fellows, the editors rejected such pressures but some (not all), concluding that caution were not boosting the nation’s prospects, instructed their journalists (so they told me) not to use the commentators.
Thus the economic debate has been distorted, with many of the public hearing or seeing only part of the spectrum. Journalists, no longer talking to everyone, became increasingly dependent upon commentators who were advocates for their employers. Financial journalism became limited and elementary errors more frequent. Boosterism is now a national phenomenon.