It's easy to hear the words "economic growth" and think it sounds good, but it's the growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This article
Has a nice three point critique.
This quote from Robert F Kennedy is used to crystallise the argument:
"The gross national product includes air pollution and advertising for cigarettes and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and jails for the people who break them. GNP (a slightly different but related measure) includes the destruction of the redwoods and the death of Lake Superior. It grows with the production of napalm, and missiles and nuclear warheads… it does not allow for the health of our families, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It is indifferent to the decency of our factories and the safety of our streets alike. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, or the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”
Defenders of it say "that GDP was never intended to be a catch-all measurement for quality of life or the overall success of a country. But that’s precisely what it has become."