Essay Summary of "The More Factor"

1053 Words Oct 23rd, 2011 5 Pages
The Ideological and Unsustainable Values of American Culture In The More Factor, by Laurence Shames, it is explained that the wholly American views of unending frontier, opportunity, and more have always been a part of who we are as a people. Over time these ideals and their growth have shifted from that of the physical world to that of economic expansion. Eventually society was faced with the realization that this growth is not sustainable, and that we must face this truth in order to reevaluate and shift our values to a more realistic view. I feel that this change in cultural values is something that must be dealt with in order for our society to continue to be relevant in today’s world. Dreams of the frontier, opportunity, and the …show more content…
This and the many other booms justified and helped to create Americans’ famous optimism, and also led to the national growth of the habit of more, or that the frontier wasn’t land specifically, but that it was also an idea. The American idea of the frontier shifted from the literal physical form, such as land, to that of the economy. Even with the shift towards having more monetarily rather than the physical aspect, the frontier continues to be a part of who we are as Americans. Shames explains that we are not running out of the essentials that keep our society going such as money, skill, passion and opportunity, but he goes on to write, “there have been ample indications over the past two decades that we are running out of more” (89). We view our economy as ever expanding in opportunity and wealth but in reality that growth has become stagnant at best and has even shrunk in recent times. With figures taken from the Economic Report of the President published in 1984, Shames uses examples to describe the downward moving trend in productivity growth. Productivity in the private sector between 1947 and 1965 on average advanced 3.3 percent, but by the 1982 to 1987 period, it had declined to an extremely low 0.2 percent growth average. The crippled growth average during this period was also accompanied by the shrinking of Americans real earnings between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-four in the years of 1979 to 1983 by 14

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