In the essay “The More Factor,” author Laurence Shames honestly presents the backstory of America in desperate need of more. Shames begins with an illustration from the 1880s, in which large amounts of land in Texas would be developed into towns with unnecessary accessories. After building the towns, most residents would move on, but some would stay to appear as current residents for a census to determine the variety of a city. Afterwards civilians who stayed would too move on; most even owned homes that could be transported.
Such a simple piece of history showed how a continuous cycle in society is still existent today. There had always been some new place to colonize which in turn has been called the final frontier also described as the land of opportunity.
Weather it was the Europeans traveling to the new world to expand or the Americans moving west in search of gold, there seemed to be limitless possibilities. What I believe Shames is trying to point out is that there is a limit to how far and how much we can expand, something that was uncomprehend able in the past.
It is now easier to see mistakes looking at the past recessions and the decline of the 1980’s, as Shames vividly points out. Therefore, Americas should be able to look at the facts of the “Frointier” and learn and benefit from these historic events, preparing for a more successful and less greedy future for America.
Shames consistently suggest that we as Americans are not realizing that there is a better gain in this life than infinite expansion and consumption. Shames’ idea seems to be to change the system from invest wildly and hope profit is to be made to consider the results first before rash actions occur. I personally doubt this would happen anytime soon because many people seem to be concerned with the bottom line without little regard to the consequences, unless it doesn’t benefit them. Shames closes with a statement saying that America needs a different sort of growth, ultimately, we need a growth in responsibility and happiness not materialism or status.
Shames, Laurence. “The More Factor.” Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on
Popular Culture for Writers. New York: Bedford/ St. Martin, 2012, 90 –