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Welcome to the second week! Somehow you survived!  This week we will are heavy with readings...give in total. The first is the "The More Factor" by Laurence Shames (pgs 90-96).   

The responses may be informal but they need to be complete answers that sincerely address the reading and all elements of the questions. Although I hesitate to give a length minimum, in general, responses that are 75% of a page single-spaced,hand-written notebook page tend to be more complete. (That’s 75% per question. 


All blog responses must be posted before the next class session. After which, the comments section will be locked. 


  • Use limited quotes to discuss the meaning behind how Shames connects the concept of the American frontier with notions of American identity.Discuss whether the “more” mindset is still occurring now, in the early 21st century. In general,do you think this desire for “more” is overall a good or bad quality in Americans?

 


Jeobana Gutierrez
09/03/2013 10:27pm

Shames connects the concept of American frontier notions with American identity because he believes that Americans have made economy as their main frontier and have set it as part of their daily lives for the past decades. As Shames states, “Economics has become the metaphor on which we pin our hopes of open space and second chances.” Here Shames is trying to emphasize how economics has become Americans main focus. Were people view economics as their everything and were they put their hopes for succeeding or having new opportunities to grow wealthier. Americans values have shifted and broaden to only wanting ‘more” and “more”. Shames also mentions that American economy is viewed as an endlessly fertile continent whose boundaries never need to be reached as a domain that could expand in perpetuity. Shames explains that many people think of America as a continent with many resources and full of never end opportunities for people to succeed in life. Shames also mentions, “For Americans frontier means growth, expanse, or opportunity. This is one of the things that set America apart from other places and makes Americans attitudes different from those of other people.” Since America is seen by others as a land of wealth and opportunities, Americans identify themselves to be rich and to live a life with commodities.
I strongly believe that the concept of “more” is still occurring today. Making money and living life well has become virtually inseparable to the public eye. Many Americans are very focused on obtaining money that they forget about the real matter of life. Modern-day American society is engulfed by consumerism and materialism. I have experienced this concept of “more”, my uncle has been so focused on getting wealthier that now that he has grown older he is alone and doesn’t have a family. His obsession to getting wealthier has dragged him into living an isolated life. He doesn’t have many friends and he doesn’t socialize with his own family. Now that he has realized that money isn’t happiness and that he has spent most of his life working he wants to settle and have a family and live happy. Unfortunately he is having a hard time finding someone and leave happy. We all too often think of money as the key to a better life. But, not only my uncle has had his mindset on “more” a lot of other people believe that the purpose of life is to succeed in business and on how to make more money than others and be superiors.
I think that the concept of “more” is not such a bad thing. I mean it is good for people to want to have a better life and succeed, to aspirations and goals. But I think everything should have a limit, or at least we should know when to stop and enjoy life. I think that everyone wants to live a life full of commodities. I do so too. I want to have things I didn’t had, go to meet new places all around the world and give my parents a home and a better life. But, I don’t think we should take the concept of “more” to a level where we compete against each others. Or putting others people below us just because of our social level. Like the example that Shames gives at the beginning of the reading, “ Whoever dies with the most toys wins.” Today’s society has become greedy and all they treasure is money and being better than others instead of focusing on what really makes them morally happy and ethical human beings. Many Americans, especially today’s generation, often associate money with perpetual happiness and struggle to view society by their ethical and moral standards. Today’s generation is consumed in acquiring wealth and using the same wealth and spending it frivolously on clothes, shoes, electronics, etc. The real important factors of life have been abandoned. Children are continuously being raised in a society that lacks morals and are taught that the accumulation of wealth must be their ultimate goal. Society has forgotten the real meaning of life, and how important it is to be happy, to be generous, to be humble and to be honorable human beings. Overall, I think that everyone should aspire for more and have goals to become more economically stable, but not to the point where we make economy as our one and only desire to be better than others.

Prof Fulton
09/09/2013 11:34am

Good grasp of Shames' ideas, and I like how you acknowledge the conflict between "more" being a negative aspect of our culture while also being something which gives our lives structure and meaning.

arturo rios
09/04/2013 9:52am

Expansionism is major word that could be used to describe the American culture due to the history it has for conquering territories in the past during the early 1800’s when the first 13 colonies were formed, which at first seek for liberty, extending little by little to the pacific through a series of wars and like it or not dirty ways to gain land, forming what we know today as the United States of America. The frontier in the American culture plays an important economic role because of the development of railroads it was possible for Americans to export goods to frontiers with different states letting the country’s economy to expand, but also stating border with neighbor countries so that that they won’t still what from the USA what has been built.
“Manifest destiny” which is not included or mentioned in the reading is also an ideal that promoted expansionism and the conquer of pacific territory by the USA. According to the Manifest Destiny idea by John L. in 1845 (Give me Liberty volume 1) it argued that it was Anglo’s superiority and right to rule all of the u-nonwhite nations and to guide them reaching the pacific coasts from todays USA. Earlier ideals like this one is what makes most of American people to seek for more and conquer other ones ignoring the pain that causes to other ones.
An example from modern North American expansionism which is seen in this 21th century is the fight for oil at Iraq, country which is constantly under attack due to its natural resource, and it is true we do get that oil out of those bloody and devastated areas. But what’s the cost from that precious resource? Soldiers’ lives and wasted money on munitions to kill innocent people in order to force the country to give it up and surrender to white supremacy, reflecting modern mindset by conquering other countries.
Seek for more is not a bad a quality from Americans, but a characteristic that makes them act violently and must be learn to be controlled because the more we ask for and have, the more we abuse from other ones. Therefore it is not a bad quality but us because we do not how to control it.

Prof Fulton
09/09/2013 11:38am

I am glad you mentioned Manifest Destiny. I think it is implied in the article but Shames (for whatever reason) avoids the term. I think Manifest Destiny is almost like a religious justification for the imperial project in America.

I am noticing a lot of basic grammar errors in your entry. I am not sure if these are "typos" or if there is something going. Try to focus a bit more on producing more readable entries in future.

fatima fuentes
09/04/2013 9:06pm


From what I have understood in Laurence Shames’ idea, it is already part of an American’s culture to desire for more. I should say that, not only Americans, but also, most people desire for more in their lives. Shames made a point where “the habit of more seemed to suggest that there was no such thing as getting wiped out in America” (Maasik 91), which suggests that America is a land opportunities. People come to America having the idea to have more of what they had before and to become part of the great American frontier. They hope to become a better person, to earn more money, and to be richer. They see America as their key to become who they want to be. “Frontier was the backdrop and also the raw material for the streak of economic booms” (Maasik 92). This means that Americans have the intent and the idea of making their land as prosperous as it can be, and building opportunities for the people to partake. I think that the immensity of the American frontier is the reason why Americans have this “more” mindset; that they just can’t have enough of what they have, and they tend to move to another area to have more.

The “more” mindset of Americans rooted from the fact that America’s territory is so vast, that there seems to be no end of supply, and that “expansion could remain a goal unto itself, and would continue to generate a value of system based on bulk rather than on nuance…” (Maasik 93). It is as if most of the Americans have never felt contented of what the nation has, and what they personally have. The “more” mindset doesn’t only include wanting more material possession, but also progress. Wide scope of progress, including medical breakthroughs, advancement of technology, and development of weapons, are considered to fuel the “more” mindset. I think this kind of mentality is never ending, not only for the Americans, but also for humans, in general. It is ongoing and it is in our nature. Whenever we go to a fast food chain, most of us never leave without filling our cups the second time around. Most of the time, women shop for new garments and shoes. Men want to collect cars. Children want to have more toys. And the generation I am in right now, I have observed that boys want more girls, and girls want more boys. Annoying and sad, but it is true.

It is fascinating how we never unitedly reach the point of contentment. Every day there is progress, we keep on moving forward, and collect things for our possession. But as the saying goes “nothing lasts forever”. America may have an “endless” supply of everything, and bountiful opportunities for everybody, but as the expansion grows, those “endless” supply and opportunities will be all consumed by us. “More” mindset is not bad if we take it slow, and share our blessings to others. Humans will never be contented, but we can share what we have, and realize that by sharing, we feel happiness and satisfaction within ourselves. By that, we may be able to really experience, appreciate, and take advantage of what we have, and be able to get a gist of gratefulness and maybe satisfaction. Having more is okay, but as we have more, we should also consider sharing it to those who have less. By doing it, we are sort of doing a “recycle” or “reuse”. An example of which is, buying new clothes and donating old clothes to the less fortunate. Or maybe, hooking up your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend to your friend. Just kidding.
America is a great country which has an immense wide frontier, and people living in this country are taking advantage of what America has to offer. People build opportunities for other people to use, and it is very helpful in creating good nation and have a good economy. Because of this great American frontier, “more” mindset took place, and it led to great innovations and development. America is where it is today because of the “more” mindset and the vast land that it possess.


Prof. Fulton
09/09/2013 11:42am

Canada and Russia are much larger than the US. I wonder if they experienced something like "More Factor" in their countries. I think Shames may be arguing that there is something in the nature of the American psyche that promotes this mindset.

Michael Ferreras
09/05/2013 12:03am

In “The More Factor” by Laurence Shames, he describes that “America’s economy is its frontier.” For decades America has expanded geographically but all was for generating revenue in some way. In the 1880’s towns would emerge all over Texas hoping that a railroad would be built nearby. In turn this would attract people to come and live in the town which would generate profit. America’s frontier, “not just as a matter of acreage, but as idea.” This key concept is this country’s base of operation. Everything that has come in association as being this country’s last frontier had some impact on its economy as well. As mentioned, America has an economy that has no limits. There would always be a form of profit springing from somewhere within the country, it is just a matter of time.
The “more” concept is still occurring in this century as much as previous centuries. As Americans the need for more would always linger in our minds. It is believed that the country would always blossom and be booming. Although it is more than certain that the country will not boom forever, the American people still strive on more. People now a day are buying more than they can afford to try and flip it for a profit, only to discover that it is not possible most of the time. It is true that there are few that still profit from an economy that is not doing so well but the majority of u who make minimum wage and work more than one job, we stride for more as well. Even if more is not obtainable the hope for it can motivate us to do better and actually expand ourselves. We would be a better contribution in this economy and possible keep America booming with opportunities of progression and profit.
Having a more mindset can go either direction, depending on how it is used. In general having a more mindset would be a good thing because it should motivate us in our daily lives. It can potentially keep the American economy blossoming for future generations as well as improving it for the current generation. Americans can make this more mindset positive by obtaining progression. Without progress we as Americans are not getting anywhere closer to where we want as a country. True that our progress improved a significant amount over the past centuries but a country with endless possibilities for an economy, a more mindset would have a positive outcome for us.

Edith Perez
09/05/2013 1:28am

The meaning Shames uses that is behind the concept of the American frontier with of the notions of American identity is that having more has always been essential idea of this country and still is. Americans have lost focus in what is actually important as Shames says “Americans have been somewhat backward in adopting values, hopes, ambitions that have to do with things other than more“. All Americans do is find ways to expand and grow.They become greedy and selfish and only bother to help themselves. At least in the 1800's the speculators built towns and would pay people to move into their town and give them a home to live in. The point was to lure the railroad so a real town would develop.
Without a doubt the “more" mindset is still occurring now in the early 21st century. I would have to say it is occurring even more now than before it is much more known and is something Americans are mostly concern about. It's as if one isn't satisfied with what they have. Having more makes them feel good. Americans now a days have the wrong priorities or don't seem to have any but to be wealthy. I don't understand how someone can lose sight of what it's truly important.
My personal perspective on the desire of "more" is something I would say is a bad quality in Americans. First reason would be because it makes other countries or cultures to look at us in a negative way and wonder if we have any values. Americans have the need to want and own the the newest technology, shoes, clothes, and other objects that are insignificant. In other words they just have the urge to buy things without even needing them. They fail to realize what is important and significant. Secondly what are Americans teaching the younger generations to be interested in? Having the desire to have more, reason why we have kids thay don't know how to respect adults. A lot of things are wrong with this country that need to be worked on but apperently they are important. Values and decency is what should be taught and how to become better people.

09/05/2013 8:52am

“There was always a presumption that America would keep booming…the next generation would always ferret out opportunities that would be still more lavish than any that had gone before.” This a great quote from, “The More Factor” by Laurence Shames, an article that discusses the origins of a confident and ambitious America from the 1880s to the present. Shames talks about “the more” effect and then toll that it took on our economy over the years. But more importantly he does something that speaks volumes. He ties in our blind ambition with the American identity and how with natural success came inevitable consequence. Shames goes on to say “The key was the frontier, not just as a matter of acreage, but as idea. Vast, varied, rough as rocks, America was the place where no one quite came to the end.” This was a national belief, and a way of life for the economically ambitious, but more importantly for the people that did not live here. America has always been head of the curb; with railroads, with industrialization, with the building of cities or even the freedom that it offers to its natives. It was no wonder why this starry-eyed country became the object of focus for outsiders who were also ambitious and looking to for “Frontier; Opportunity; More.”
However, “…there has been one further corollary to the legacy of the frontier with its promise of ever-expanding opportunities…Americans have been somewhat backwards in adopting values, hopes and ambitions that have to do with things other than more.” We have gone from being creators to being consumers. Instead of pursuing the American dream like the many immigrants who still come here with ambition and who look to seize opportunity. Something has changed; oh we still look for “more”, only now it’s not more for the betterment of this country or for its economy, but just for the sake of having more. We are no longer a country that produces anything, we are living a mass consumer society that is training us from a young age to earn, eat, and spend. So I suppose, in the end, we are a country that is still focusing on “more”.

Vahan Khachatryan
09/06/2013 8:03pm

It is well known fact that “America” has always been associated with the land of opportunities where everyone’s dream might come true. Whether it is true or not, the fact is that people all around the world immigrated to the United States in order to fulfill their unrealized dreams. In his article “More factor”, Laurence Shames emphasizes that “The key was the frontier, not just as a matter of acreage, but as idea. Vast, varied, rough as rocks, America was the place where one never quite came to the end.” A fortune lost in Texas might be recouped in Colorado”. Laurence connects the concept of American frontier with notions of American identity in terms of consistent belief that in this country whether you are successful or not, you will always have a second chance to succeed. This stereotype was predominant in American society for centuries. Moreover, this stereotype formed the concept of American identity; the consistent necessity of doing more and more, trying again and again, and finally acquiring more and more. America has always been the country of immigrants and the question is whether or not the immigrants are changing the nature of American identity? From my personnel perspective, the basic American values such as land of freedom, American dream were strong enough to create a new melting pot of American citizens sharing common aspirations and values, even as they celebrate and honor their special racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious heritages.
The mindset of more is mainly the result of the capitalism itself which is based on materialistic values. The more you have, the more you want to have. The “more” mindset is occurring now as well. Moreover, it is more pronounced today like never before. Even though it can be considered as a bad quality for American society, it has its explanation. For Recession Generation, people who were born between 1980 and 1990, the core values, psychology has been shaped by the economic downturn. Employment, standard of living, the state of having, owning and controlling as much as possible are the key issues for the recession generation.

fatima fuentes
09/06/2013 8:32pm


From what I have understood in Laurence Shames’ discussion, it is already part of an American’s culture to desire for more. I should say that, not only Americans, but also, most people desire for more in their lives. Shames made a point where “the habit of more seemed to suggest that there was no such thing as getting wiped out in America” (Maasik 91), which suggest that America is a land opportunities. People come to America having the idea to have more of what they had before and to become part of the great American frontier. They hope to become better, to earn more money, and to be richer. They see America as their key to become who they want to be. “Frontier was the backdrop and also the raw material for the streak of economic booms” (Maasik 92). This means that Americans have the intent and the idea of making their land as prosperous as it can be, and building opportunities for the people to partake. I think that the immensity of the American frontier is the reason why Americans have this “more” mindset; that they just can’t have enough of what they have, and they tend to move to another area to have more.
The “more” mindset of Americans rooted from the fact that America’s territory is so vast, that there seems to be no end of supply, and that “expansion could remain a goal unto itself, and would continue to generate a value of system based on bulk rather than on nuance…” (Maasik 93). It I s as if most of the Americans have never felt contented of what they have, and what the nation has. The “more” mindset is doesn’t only include material possession, but also progress. Wide scope of progress, including medical breakthroughs, advancement of technology, and development of weapons, are considered to be in the “more” mindset. I think this kind of mindset is never ending, not only for the Americans, but also for humans, in general. It is ongoing and it is in our nature. Whenever we go to a fast food chain, most of us never leave without filling our cups the second time around. Women shop for new garments and shoes, most of the time. Men want to collect cars. Children want to have more toys. And the generation I am in right now, I have observed that boys want more girls, and girls want more boys. Annoying and sad, but it is true.
It is fascinating how we never unitedly reach the point of contentment. Every day there is progress, we keep on moving forward, and collect things for our possession. But as the saying goes “nothing lasts forever”. America may have an “endless” supply of everything, and bountiful opportunities for everybody, but as the expansion grows, those “endless” supply and opportunities will be all consumed by us. “More” mindset is not bad if we take it slow, and share our blessings to others. Humans will never be contented, but we can share what we have, and realize that by sharing, we feel happiness and satisfaction within ourselves. By that, we may be able to really experience, appreciate, and take advantage of what we have, and be able to get a gist of gratefulness and maybe satisfaction. Having more is okay, but as we have more, we should also consider sharing it to those who have less. By doing it, we are sort of doing a “recycle” or “reuse”. An example of which is, buying new clothes and donating old clothes to the less fortunate. Or maybe, hooking up your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend to your friend. Just kidding.
America is a great country which has an immense wide frontier, and people living in this country are taking advantage of what America has to offer. People build opportunities for other people to use, and it is very helpful in creating good nation and have a good economy. Because of this great American frontier, “more” mindset took place, and it led to great innovations and development. America is where it is today because of the “more” mindset and the vast land that it possess.


Rosario Vazquez
09/06/2013 11:47pm

The incentive of acquiring in great quantities has always been the ambition for Americans. This can be recognized in the early 1600s, when the colonists appropriated of the land which was before them. In fact, Laurence Shames wrote that the “frontier, opportunity, more…has been the American trinity from the very start.” In other words, although the frontier which has been land and money has given Americans the opportunity to live in abundance, individual’s ambition, pushed them to seek for more. The drive to expand drove the colonists to take actions such as the trip from Britain to America, the Louisiana Purchase and as well as other events. Moneywise, Shames indicated that the early investors would “speculate” in construction of towns, followed by the investment in stock markets. Furthermore, the ideal of Americas “ever- expanding opportunities” generated the idea of a perpetual lifestyle which differs from other countries. For example, “Frontier, for most of the world’s people, does not suggest growth, expanse, or opportunity.” Therefore, the American’s identity is that of yearning, and desire for more than what we contain.
The ambitious mindset is still, installed in Americans today, and one is able to notice this since many people spend more than what they have. Often times, it’s the desire of obtaining the materials that are fashionable in our era, therefore it’s not the need that drives a person to buy an iPhone but the desire. Also, individuals who invest their money, are people who obtain the “more” mindset, since they wait for a successful opportunity to happen in order to acquire a greater benefit.
The desire for “more” is a bad quality in Americans since, many of our resources are scarce. Also, it’s a bad habit since it generates anxiety and many individuals become greedy and careless about those in need since they just focus on themselves and their hunger.

09/07/2013 12:11am

Laurence Shames states plainly, “Open space generated not just ambition, but metaphor,” and in the next paragraph, “Frontier; opportunity; more” (92). Obviously, Shames means here that expansion of the frontier not only meant wealth to those developing and capitalizing directly off of it, but also it signified something to all Americans – dreams of wealth, success, and the constant dream of acquiring or achieving something beyond themselves, or as Shames calls it, “more”. Laurence Shames then further explores this idea by explaining how the desire for more has become embedded in modern American society – in other words, ‘the frontier’ is no longer a Western land barrier that can bring wealth and success, but the idea of a barrier which can constantly be broken, expanded upon.
Shames explains this constant mindset by saying “Expansion could remain a goal unto itself, and would generate a value system based on bulk rather than on nuance,……, on ‘progress’ itself rather than on a sense of what the progress was for” (93). So, ‘the frontier’, so to speak, the dream of ‘more’, is still something Americans clutch at, despite not necessarily knowing why or how. The way Shames presents this raises questions in the readers mind - is this desire good, if indeed the people carrying it on do not know the reason they are doing it and are only continuing based on an impulse programmed inside of them?
In my opinion, this desire for “more” has the potential to be good, if harnessed differently than the way it is being used for today, and has been used in the past in America. So, I don’t think that the inherent desire of wanting to succeed and progress is bad (it can be very good), but the way most Americans think of ‘more’ is through wealth, material success, and other quantifiable measures. If Americans thought wanting ‘more’ meant personal growth, and doing good unto others, perhaps America would be a less violent, less materialistic society. That is up to the reader. As for me, I think the desire for ‘more’ is not inherently bad, but has been harnessed in ways which can, and have, been harmful and seemingly endless to those outside of our society, as well as to those within.

09/07/2013 12:15am

Citation, (just in case) :

Maasik, Sonia, and Jack Solomon. Signs of Life in The U.S.A.. Seventh Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2012. 90-96. Print.

Vahan Khachatryan
09/07/2013 10:08am

It is well known fact that “America” has always been associated with the land of opportunities where everyone’s dream might come true. Whether it is true or not, the fact is that people all around the world immigrated to the United States in order to fulfill their unrealized dreams. In his article “More factor”, Laurence Shames emphasizes that “The key was the frontier, not just as a matter of acreage, but as idea. Vast, varied, rough as rocks, America was the place where one never quite came to the end.” A fortune lost in Texas might be recouped in Colorado”. Laurence connects the concept of American frontier with notions of American identity in terms of consistent belief that in this country whether you are successful or not, you will always have a second chance to succeed. This stereotype was predominant in American society for centuries. Moreover, this stereotype formed the concept of American identity; the consistent necessity of doing more and more, trying again and again, and finally acquiring more and more. America has always been the country of immigrants and the question is whether or not the immigrants are changing the nature of American identity? From my personnel perspective, the basic American values such as land of freedom, American dream were strong enough to create a new melting pot of American citizens sharing common aspirations and values, even as they celebrate and honor their special racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious heritages.
The mindset of more is mainly the result of the capitalism itself which is based on materialistic values. The more you have, the more you want to have. The “more” mindset is occurring now as well. Moreover, it is more pronounced today like never before. Even though it can be considered as a bad quality for American society, it has its explanation. For Recession Generation, people who were born between 1980 and 1990, the core values, psychology has been shaped by the economic downturn. Employment, standard of living, the state of having, owning and controlling as much as possible are the key issues for the recession generation.

Stefanie Jadidi
09/07/2013 10:18am

America’s history had a trinity of “Frontier; opportunity; more.” Open and vacant spaces were linked to economic promise. In the 1880s when people saw open land, they saw opportunity. There was a presumption that American would continue booming and not stop. Building railroads and towns meant wealth and prosperity for the future. Build one town and eventually a city will emerge due to the power of “more”. But the rest of the world does not view it in that light. The romance of the frontier has left us now to think about the reality of money worries and our purpose in life. Shames said “But there has been one further corollary to the legacy of the frontier, with its promise of ever expanding opportunities. Given that the goal – a realistic goal for most of our history- was more”.
As Billy Idol would sing, “In the midnight hour she cried- "more, more, more.” Ok, that was just for my entertainment. But in all seriousness, the mindset of “more” undoubtedly is still occurring in the 21st Century. American core values are being tested by their mindset of “more” every day. To this day Americans are trained to continue wanting more, beginning from childhood. While little children in a third world country are playing with sticks and simply happy with what they have, American children are spoiled rotten and have so many toys they do not have enough hours in the day to play with them. After watching a commercial a child will more than likely yell out "I want that!" Why do they want more when they have enough? Advertisements are more abundant than ever and people want what they do not necessarily need. America’s frontier started from humble beginnings but now in the 21st Century it has become a circus show of consumerism.
I believe that Americans values and goals have become misguided and it has definitely become a bad quality. The constant want for more only gives people anxiety pushing them into debt and greed rears its ugly head. American consumerism might be helping the economy, but the reason is not for the betterment of our country, it is simply the want for “more”. When are Americans truly content and when will it ever been enough? Consumers may be compromising quality of life for quantity of money and material things.

Genesis
09/07/2013 11:49am

Shames opens up his text illustrating desperate acts of wanting “more” back in 1800s Texas. Speculators would build towns from scratch in remote areas, at first trying to persuade people to move in, and if that did not work they would resort to bribery. The abundance of land during this time was seen as an opportunity to get rich; they knew it was quite a risk, and dealt with failures indeed though it was soon rebuilt afterwards. The risks were only a part of the opportunity and obsession they had towards making more and more money. The frontier had been reached or possibly surpassed, and so the economy became the industry of growth. The idea of growth has overpowered this nation, whereas other values like quality and decency have been left in the dark.
The “more” mindset is most definitely still occurring in the present day. People delve themselves into the consumerism culture, and the consumerism culture delves into our brains and warped ideals, making us believe that we need to buy the newest iPhone to be in touch with the world, to be included in today’s technological society. It’s been more recently that even kids, as young as four years old, indulge in the entertainment of their mother’s or father’s iPad or tablet. This illustration is a look at the generation born in the age of technology. Soon enough, (or probably it has already occurred) these kids will want their own iPods, Mac laptops, or tablets, just like (or better) than the ones they grew up with, and the cycle continues from there on.
We want and want until what, exactly? It’s a never-ending desire instilled in us; it’s not necessarily a bad or good quality. It is just highly necessary for people to differentiate what it means to need and want something. Greediness may and has already ensued, so it is morally up to the person to decide and control how they will represent this quality.
People now aim further than the American dream, making it almost seem like the impossible dream considering what their demands and expectations are. It’s seen that simply getting rich is above anything in quality and decency. These values are not paid attention to, which is a problem. People are getting richer, but they are not developing anything other than money, just simply expanding with no good benefit to anyone, of course other than the people who are getting filthy rich. America "needs" more oil, and so we declared war on Iraq, and the only thing we got out of this 9 year war was death. America has a history of manifest destiny and westward expansionism. Following the end of the Mexican-American War, much of the West and Southwest was given to the United States. The Homestead Act encouraged people to move to move west into the newest conquered land, which allowed the settlers to own 160 acres of land for free! There is a long history of the American Frontier, how we came upon it, and how it never seems to satisfy. This ideal of wanting more is integrated into the American culture, where plastered billboards of advertisements and rightful notions of money emphasizing a high and powerful status, rule the world.

David Figueroa
09/07/2013 12:31pm

The American Frontier, essentially represented an opportunity for the average person to better their future and break free from an inherited socio economic class. Many during the late 1800’s sought out to purchase large chunks of land, to build small towns in the middle of nowhere for the explicit purpose of creating an economic boom in rural areas. The Frontier promoted the ideas of optimism, opportunity, expansion, wealth and most importantly the idea of more. Ben Franklin explained it best when he addressed the Europeans shortly before the Revolutionary war ended. In essence Ben Franklin explained that America offered new chances to those who removed themselves from Europe to America by saying, “who, in their own Countries, where all the Lands [were] fully occupied….could never [emerge] from the poor condition wherein they were born.” This is where the idea of America comes from, it is a place of opportunity and most importantly it is a place where freedom is achieved. The idea of the American Frontier has served as a foundation for how Americans think and act today. The values and hopes of today are rooted in the idea of more is better, you are more valuable or hopeful when you have more money, a couple of expensive cars and a couple huge houses. If you don’t have the newest iphone, tablet, gadget or three D television in every room of your home then you aren’t successful somehow. You are better if you have more than the person next you. The economy is todays American Frontier, the more money and things you have, the higher up you climb on the economic latter. Decency is now replaced with success and success is measured by how many toys you die with. No one asks themselves if they are happy, because happiness today is measured by success.

Today the mentality of more continues to be pervasive. The difference is, now instead of acquiring more land and expanding into unknown territories for profit, the working class seeks to acquire more personal belongings. What I mean is everyone spends money on technological gadgets and immediate things that can be worn or held onto one’s person. Some people purchase $70 shirts, $700 iphones, $200 sneakers and a $300 PSVita. We see now, a shift in how society spends its money. Instead of saving money to purchase land and harness a larger sense of profit or success, we see now that young adults instead measure success by what brands they purchase and the quantity. You see it all day on insta-gram or facebook, pictures of a closet full of Jordan sneakers or how much bling they have on. I have only seen one person post a picture of their newly purchased home, out of the hundreds on my list of social media friends or followers. It is still occurring today in all social classes, the elite have now moved on to acquiring resources from other countries because American resources have dwindled, the middle class continue to purchase homes or invest in businesses, and the working class go buy the newest G-Shock watch release.

I think the desire for more is a good quality that Americans should be proud of. The desire for more means that we as a people keep society moving forward. If people didn’t seek out more of a good thing than the world would have more of a bad thing. Market diversity gives us more options, if our government was the only source of provision we would all be pretty much the same. Having the mentality of more means we will continue to improve our way of life and strive as individuals creating new ideas and alternative ways for living every day. It means someone, somewhere is seeking to improve and expand on a cure for the world’s diseases, to harness our natural energy resources or is demanding more from our politicians and leaders. The idea of more provides an opportunity for future generations to continue to strive for a better world. One day the world will eventually realize that the external more is not as important as the internal more, that we need to seek to improve those value systems within us and not without.

Rhea Lopez
09/07/2013 7:53pm

Shames introduces the idea that our want and need for possession was born in the 1880s. The expansion of the Wild West and the frontier is said to be the reason why Americans adopted the belief of “more, more, and more.” Speculators began to lure railroad companies into a resemblance of a town with the hope that a real town would eventually develop, making speculators increasingly rich. Speculators kept along with these tactics and depositing empty towns in the middle of nowhere with no explanation. There were only two reasons that might be said to summarize America’s economic history and the building blocks of the nation’s central character. The main reason was a presumption that America would keep booming, if not forever but, long enough not to worry about. They began to assume that there would be a second Gold Rush, another Homestead Act, or another oil strike. Every generation would be more prosperous than the last. The idea of more suggested that America’s supplies and resources would never run out and there would be plenty to go around.  America offered new chances to anyone willing to go out and get them. Every down fall rather it is floods or poor farming season everyone saw the silver lining and saw a second chance.
Over time American’s have set a new goal in life for them, the goal being more. Americans have placed value and worth in things that can get them more. Shames says, “In America, a sense of quality has lagged far begin a sense of scale.” Shames strongly emphasizes, that we are not yet to become comfortable with an ideal of contentment. We are constantly running toward success, not that that is a negative thing but, chasing after success we become less likely to be content with what we have right now. We are on a value system that focuses on quantities of money and material items rather than on quality of life. Shames says the 1980s was an era of nostalgia (95). Nostalgia is a wistful desire to return in thought or in face to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time. The decade was described as an opportunistic and an innocence of history. Although the nostalgia had much to do with the greed, impediment, and perplexing need and want for joy. This all lead to a fear that the world may not be large enough to fulfill one’s wants and needs. The eighties were an era of learning.
In “The More Factor”, they use specific examples of how our nation and culture has been influenced by consumerism through our history. They bring up examples of the frontier to the radio in the 1990’s. They also constantly state that we have abandoned our morals and values and we have changed as a society. However, I find this to be negative. We have not and will not abandon the morals and values we were raised on and our ancestors fought for, true enough our priorities have been shifted.

Daniel Figueroa
09/07/2013 8:46pm

The historian Frederick Jackson Turner said “not the constitution, but free land that made the democratic type of society in America.” Shames connects the American frontier with the American identity in the sense that frontier signified opportunity. Vacant spaces of land were seen as a link to economic promise and prosperity. Frontier was seen as a symbol of the American way of doing things and also what is worth doing for an American. Frontier signified “more”.
The “more” mindset is still alive and well here in America. We are able to see this through peoples’ actions. For example someone might simply get tired of having a Toyota and decide it’s time to buy a BMW or maybe have both cars or why not three cars , one for going to work, one for going out, and one to alternate between both of those activities. Someone might have a pair of Wrangler jeans and decide they want Levis jeans now why? Because they’re more expensive. Businesses and the media help to contribute to this “more” mentality. Take for example McDonalds and what they used to offer their customers not too long ago. A customer had the option of “supersizing” their meal. You want more don’t you? Ok why not supersize it then.
I think that this mentality of wanting more is a bad quality but at the same time it seems only natural that we feel that way. We are programmed since our early youth to want more. It is the American way of life. The same goes for people who come from other countries to America. They come here because they want to live the American dream and they know they have a better chance of having more than what they have in their country. There is nothing technically wrong with that but at the same time the more mentality could set a person up for financial troubles maybe even financial ruin, with the amount of debt they can potentially rack up. We should try to live within our means and better ourselves , just not in a greedy way.

Kelly S. Hidalgo
09/07/2013 10:24pm

We all know what the “American dream” feels and sounds like. We grew up aware of it although, perhaps never actually being told what it is. Even if you are not born in the United States, its highly likely that you heard those two words spoken by someone with an enormous amount of optimism.

Optimism is the basis for the American dream and in “The More Factor,” Laurence Shames describes to us where it came from and where it is going. He begins with a picture of early American’s in the 1880’s called “speculators,” eagerly purchasing large parcels of land with the hope of making it big! They bought this land to build small towns, draw residents and eventually lure the railroad. Although that sounds like a great plan as is, the drive and ambition that steers the American dream doesn’t stop at the corner of satisfied and well-enough. There is always the desire for more! Shames calls this “the frontier...not just a matter of acreage, but as idea...America was a place where one never quite came to the end.” He further describes it as “the backdrop...for the steak of economic booms. The booms become the...justification for the myriad of gambles and for Americans famous optimism. The optimism shaped the schemes and visions that were sometimes noble...always bold...the frontier shaped the American way of doing things...” It is this model that has molded the American identity and continues strong on to this day.

We see the “more” mindset everywhere we look; our apparel, food, hospitals, public transit system. If it weren’t so, would there be 57 varieties of ketchup? The need to produce a bigger and better product and beat out your competitor is a command given by the consumer. You barely learn how to master your iphone and then here comes a newer version. And what do we do? We buy it!

I think that the desire for more has its place in our time and our culture. It is this same desire that drives scientist to cure disease and astronomers to explore further into deep space. The desire for more is a quality I believe all American’s have, and when used for good rather than the next Pepsi flavor, can be the greatest gift for its citizens.

Ashli Lilly
09/08/2013 1:45pm

America seems to have had a foundation in which was laid by the idea of increased consumption from as early as the beginning of the Frontier. In the book “The Signs of Life in the USA – The more factor” Shames says “The Frontier was the backdrop and also raw material for the streak of economic booms.” To me this suggests that prior to establishing the importance of “economy” we were driven by the simple mindset that expansion was necessary in order to create success in any circumstance. Shames also goes on to say that “In America, a sense of quality has lagged far behind a sense of scale. That the ethic of decency has been upstaged by the ethic of success and the concept of growth has been applied almost exclusively to things that can be measured, counted or weighed.” These statements imply that the desire for “more” shoveled a path of less traditional morals and values that was salted and traveled without coincidence by the settlers of not just our current culture but also all American cultures. It says that if we cannot apply the concept of “more” as a standard of judgment then we are also unable to treat it as successful or productive in our society causing the boost of over-consumption. Which to me means the idea of “more” is imploding on itself when over-consumption exceeds availability.

In today’s society the “more” mindset is definitely very prevalent. We see examples of this when we view the exaggerated demands for products and services that are highly circulated. For example, the demand for more places to shop causes a chain reaction of increased construction with simultaneous destruction of natural animal habitats. Because we are so concentrated on the idea of “more” being linked to the idea of “options” we become desensitized to the outcome of this behavior. We desire more shops because they provide an immediate indulgence of self-gratification or “more” happiness as opposed to animal habitats in which can be easily avoided and ignored when seeking “more” mainstream acceptance. Popular culture itself is a general example of how our current society still has the mindset of “more” in the 21st century. Most of the things we want are defined by “more”.

In my opinion I believe the idea of “more” is a devastating concept to have centered on American minds. When applying the concept of “more” to things like consumption of food for example, we end up with the result of obesity. A result that not only increases healthcare costs but also shortens life expectancy in the U.S. Another example of the negative effect the “more” mindset has on our American economy is the demand for expendable entertainment. We pay mass amounts for things like concerts, travel arrangements, video games meanwhile we can not sustain things such as our own state-wide infrastructures. We have bridges falling down and roads decaying at the same time as a major designers release of their fall collection and where does our money go? Well, not to fix the roads. We complain about the cost of taxes but openly let go of hundreds of dollars on clothes in order to remain “more” relevant in the fashion community. The concept of “more” has not infiltrated our American values, it is what has birthed our American values as well as what is destroying those values from the inside.

Johnny Ramirez
09/08/2013 6:02pm

“Frontier; opportunity; more. This has been the American trinity from the very start.” This quote from Laurence Shames in “The More Factor” tells us that America was built in the idea of always wanted more and it started out with the frontiers. “The frontier was the backdrop and also the raw material for the streak of economic booms.” (Shames, 92). The frontier was where the development of railroads started and it has expanded for us to carry items, goods, food or anything to other states. It was what made America keep booming in it’s economy. “The frontier, as reality and as symbol, is what has shaped the American way of doing things and the American sense of what’s worth doing” (Shames, 92).
I believe the mindset of wanting “more” has gotten bigger in the 21st century. Technology has become something so big in our society, like phones, consoles, televisions, and the internet. We the new thing comes out, we automatically want it because it’s what culture today is, wanting the new thing. The concept of wanting “more” is a good quality in Americans. In America, to keep the economy steady, we spend money to get more. There’s nothing wrong having the new Iphone or the new play station. It’s true we may get greedy and probably act violently but it’s all about having self control on how we spend our money.

Aaron Yim
09/08/2013 6:32pm

In “The More Factor”, Shames explores the ambitious and optimistic American notion of wanting more with the American frontier. During the 1880s, Americans explored and expanded to the west in order to pursue economic opportunities. Inherent in the minds of Americans during this time was that “no natural boundary seems to be set to the efforts of man.” In other words, Americans would not settle for the amount of land they had and wanted more in order to expand to get a hold of the limitless opportunities in the barren land due to the belief of “Frontier; opportunity; more.” In turn, this desire for more brought America a streak of economic boom such as railroads, industrialization, cities, and gold. However, although this “more factor” brought economic benefits to the nation as a whole, the desire for more became a dangerous American identity ever since. According to Shames, “there has been one further corollary to the legacy of the frontier with its promise of ever-expanding opportunities…Americans have been somewhat backwards in adopting values, hopes and ambitions that have to do with things other than more.” In other words, we are blinded by the sight of more and are restlessly wanting more, in terms of upward social mobility, consumerism, and acquiring wealth that we lose sight of more important things like peace of mind and being thankful for what we have so much so that “The ethic of decency has been upstaged by the ethic of success.” This “more” mindset is still very prevalent and ingrained in the American mind today. Although the “more” attitude motivates us to achieve, I think generally this desire is bad because it makes people greedy and unfulfilled. There is no end to the desire of wanting more. The moment we obtain one thing, we tend to put sight into the next thing that we want more of. Even the word “more” itself signifies that there will always be something more without limits. As long as people live with the “more” mindset, we will always be hungry, and unfulfilled for more.

bryce
09/08/2013 7:55pm

Shames connects the American frontier with American identity because the quest for America is tied to a quest for riches.
Just by investing a little time and money you could get so much back that people were willing to take the risk.
Shames go further suggesting the idea that frontier Americans assumed that there would always be more.
He claimed "…there was a presumption that America would keep on booming- if not forever, than at least longer than it made sense to worry about."
"The first reason was simply that the possible returns were so enormous…prudence did not seem to apply."
He states the frontier was, " not just as a matter of acreage, but as idea."
Meaning that the word frontier wasn't just vacant land but something that a person with drive could build an empire on.

Yes I think the more mindset is still in effect today. For example at one of the local technical colleges in the screen printing class a majority of the students have the mind set of buying a press and instantly making a lot of cash. There are still some people out there that want to be the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. But the recession has dampened the more mindset.

Yes its good when it motivates and inspires people, but it could also be a bad thing if people loose sight and never learn to be satisfied, like gambling.

Erika Cayabyab
09/08/2013 10:32pm

Shames defines the American frontier as one of the three things essential for an economic boom. He states that along with the American frontier, opportunity and the idea of having “more” are just as important. But when analyzing the frontier alone, Shames informs the reader that this molded America to think differently and also redefined what’s “worth doing”. Little did America know, this new idea of what success means were to soon backfire twice as hard. When the idea of increasing the economy came into play, no one looked into account that sooner or later, America won’t keep on booming. America formed a habit of an act of taking but did not think about the high chance of losing everything and more. This can be related to your American identity because the only reason why people move to America is to find freedom. Those who seek to be financially free will risk almost anything to earn an abundance of blessings. Their mindset isn’t bad at all, but they are blinded from what’s really going to give them that ticket to freedom. This idea of an economic boom does the exact opposite of benefitting, it traps. As Shames stated, “Americans have been somewhat backward in adopting values, hopes, ambitions that have to do with things other than more.” Here Shames reflects on the fact that these “ambitions” have turned into a different kind of thinking, contentment. People who are experiencing contentment are convinced that they no longer need to strive. As a result, they become stuck.
In America today, the “more” mindset has destroyed many lives. It is still an ongoing problem because with that mindset, you begin to realize that nothing will ever be pleasing to you. It will always make you think that nothing is enough and will result in a constant state of anxiety and negativity. For example, when you enter a store your main focus is on what you need to buy. But as you walk around, you begin to realize that more things attract your eye. After, you leave the store with bags filled with purchased items. Now who financially benefitted from this? Although you have gained happiness, it is only temporary. You have been tricked and blinded from what the real goal was. The “more” mindset does exactly that, to take take take! In my opinion, it is a suffocating and uncomfortable feeling to know that such materialistic things can easily get in the way. Although it can be enlightening to know that you have the latest gadgets, it must be remembered that the desire of striving and benefitting can’t be fulfilled with the “more” mindset. Disciplining the mind is key.

Gladys Pereira
09/09/2013 9:00am

In the more factor "the American frontier has been the american trinity from the very start. The frontier was the backdrop and also the raw material for the streak of economic booms." "The frontier, as reality and as symbol, is what has shaped the American way of doing things and the American sense of what's worth doing." The "more" is still happening now in the 21st century people want to have more and more materials things. For example, they get a brand new car because they need it but then they see their friend that has a new new car that has everything their car doesn't they want to have a better one than the one that they have or their friend. It happens with kids too they have a toy the recently got. While they are watching TV they see a commercial of this new toy that has come out and now they are desiring to have that toy. Its like a disease of having more and more things than what you really need. The term "more" has been over century's people always having more even if they don't actually need the things they buy but they want to get more no matter if they don't have enough money. In my point of view I think that it is a bad quality in Americans because they have everything the actually need they don't need to have more. I've seen people have more and more stuff they waist money and at the end of the day they started throwing things to the trash which cost money. Also when people have more they turn greedy and selfish don't care of helping others they just care about themselfs and their materials things. Its like they don't care that they waisted money on something very expensive to get a new phone or computer. I get it that is a habbit that people get sometimes I feel like I want more than what I really want but then I stop to think and say hey do i really need this or do I just want it so I can show it off to everyone and then get bored of it the next day.There is no end to the desire of wanting more.

Prof. Fulton
09/09/2013 11:45am

I think you basically "got it" but I would have liked to have seen more depth of insight. It is good to consider thing from the personal perspective but what about a more global outlook? The need for expansionism, Manifest Destiny, in American history is a collective experience, not just an individual one.

09/09/2013 11:36am

In the story The More Factor, Laurence Shames explains that the having more has always been the American’s frontier. Shames says “Americans economy is the frontier.” This quote shows that since the 1880’s, Americans have been buying land and building empty lands for a purpose. This purpose was “more.” They wanted to fill the towns at any cost, even if they paid the travelers expenses. They did this in the hope that they would build a railroad nearby. The Americans always want more, because Americans have an economy that has no end to their ideas and no limit. There is always a new idea or a new form of gadget that Americans create to get the people interested in the newer ideals.
Yes the more mindset is still occurring today in the 21 century. It is sad to say that the people are blinded from what that have and only see on the newer creations. This is great news for the consumers because if they come up with a new item every year they ratings would be high and their sales would be too. I would have to say that the American idea in having “more” is even higher and greater now than it was before. It is as if people are not satisfies with their own belongings. I myself and I am sure of most of the Americans also fall into the American Frontier because of all the interesting and new items that keep upgrading.
Americans including myself always want the new clothes, shoes, phones, and any type of new technology in our possessions. For example what is the difference between an iPhone 4s and an IPhone 5? Not much really. It is simply a thinner screen and a few more picture quality, but yet people still upgrade. Also when a woman from the American society sees a new line of make-up is released or a new style of cloths they want to fallow the trend and what is in style. This fact also is for the men in American because when they see a new set of Vans or a new soccer jersey they have to have it. I believe that Americans try to show there items off more than actually appreciating there items. Sometime I feel like do we as Americans have any values.

09/09/2013 12:55pm

Shames shows us how in America today that the bumper sticker that he writes about from the 1980’s saying “He with the most toys wins” is as true today as it was throughout the history of America from the frontier times to the current times. He says that “people would buy up enormous tracts of parched, vacant land, lay out a Main Street, nail together some wood sidewalks, and start slapping up buildings.” This was the first sign of consumption really in America in my opinion. People would move to be these areas, stores would open up and people would start living life. This would happen all over America. Speculation on the next possible place to build was absolutely huge. The returns at the time were just as big and this is where the American’s consumerism and want, want, want for more comes in. People starting getting rich and making lots of money on speculation and building towns. At one point on person owned Amarillo, TX. He explains in this essay that the key to the American Frontier was not as much as the Frontier itself as the idea of what it could be and what it could bring in.
“Frontier; opportunity, more” says Shames. It has always been about more for the American people. The more people got the more they wanted, they more they wanted, the more things were made, the more things were made, the more things were changed, invented, innovated and the United States became a place where contentment with what they had was not enough they always had to have more.
We became a country that used the frontier which was once thought of just land to now a thought of an idea, of something more than land, of things that can be. Technology is a frontier, medicine is a frontier, consumerism itself is a frontier.
“If supply of more went on forever, perhaps that wouldn’t matter very much.” He says this then says that “Expansion would remain a goal unto itself.” Which is so true in Amercian culture. Consumerism is good not only for America, but I believe that America helps to fuel the world’s economy by our simple consumption. We are totally a consumer’s society wanting more of the best and latest gadgets, clothing, appliances, houses, and the list goes on ad infinitum. I believe that this consumerism is extremely good for America because it spurs competition not only in the United States but all over the world. Our want for more is the cause for things to be invented, improved, and put into place in every aspect of our daily lives.

09/09/2013 1:49pm

In the eyes of an outsider, there is no doubt America is one of the best nations there is. If USA is already discovered during the biblical times, we would be confused with Israel as to being the “Land of Milk and Honey”. That is how this nation is portrayed in films, advertising and the news. From the wineries in the Napa Valley, the vast cattle ranches in Texas, mountain ranges in Colorado, the nice fishing scenery in the Puget Sound and Alaska, to the hustling environment of NYC, it seems that the possibilities are endless. And ever since John F. Kennedy challenged our bright scientists to race the Russians to the moon, it was definitely no doubt that we carved it in stone that we aren’t just geographically vast, but our ideas and quest for innovation pushes for more opportunities. And with these opportunities comes the economic boom. Shame’s stated that the “economy has been the frontier.” We measure our progress by land acreage, and by constant product innovation, and mostly by our standard of living.

As what Laurence Shames states in his essay, ‘ The country is not running out of wealth, drive, savvy, or opportunities...But we have an ample indications over the past two decades that we are running out of more.” This powerful statement is very obvious in the current decade. With the current condition of the economy and the uncertainty it brings, people are starting to shift their lifestyle to fill the gap of excessive consumption towards personal satisfaction. More consumers are doing research before purchasing an item, plus they are being more careful with money management. Commuters are using the public transportation more often. Farmer’s market is slowly becoming a trend in food shopping, and even communities are conducting lessons on backyard and vertical farming to teach individuals on how to provide food for themselves. It is a long way to go from the “more” mentality that we are used to, but it is a good start.

In general, I personally think that anything excessive is bad - not just for Americans, but to any individual. To further elaborate, I would like to connect this discussion to the essay “The Ables vs. the Binges”. In a consumer society like America, every purchase that we make is like an unspoken drive to compete against everyone we meet. Take the need (or want) of a cellphone for instance: gone are the days when the main ability to send message is the only consideration to buy one. Such buyer would like to have a bigger screen, a larger memory capacity, weight, size or even the color for a new phone. Though customer personal preference is what drive sales to go up, one might question the relevance of these nice features to its ability to make a simple call. The main purpose of why a certain technology, food, clothing, or trend is ignored just because of a shallow reason of “being in season.”

Another reason I would like to state on why the desire for more is bad is because it is based on impulse. The trend for a certain product - may it be technology, cosmetics, even food - is escalating exponentially. It feels like being satisfied to what is just enough is considered a rebellion, so a consumer must succumb to the trend. And money is not even the problem. Sellers and advertisers have even found a way to lure potential buyers to their gimmick: 0 money down, no credit check, free trial, and free shipping. Due to this an individual is plunging into more debt, forcing them to be slaves of their own jobs just to give in to their impulse. They spend more hours working to the point where they ignore family relationships and even their own well-being. They have no time to reflect on what is essential to living and just focusing on how to survive the day.

09/09/2013 8:12pm

The “more factor” that shames spoke of is without a shadow of a doubt true in my point of view. The only factor that’s different from then up until now is we have more to offer. It’s still the same supply and demand just on another playing field. We are the generation of technology so its only natural there will be constant new devices capturing the human eye. In the past it was more so based on land and things of that sort and as time progressed the earliest versions of our newest cars.
As a society we are more advanced then we were back then. The younger you are now the more computers handy you are. We have kids as young as 3 knowing how to work phones better then their parents. It’s kind of amazing then on the other hand kind of sad because a lot of those children can barely spell their name. The “more factor” is always going to exist as long as new trinkets come out. I do feel it is worse now then it was then simply because we require more maintenance. I think that the “more factor” is overall what people make it, if used and not abused I think it will be okay but demanding too much is going to cost and some people don’t have the money or whatever it may cost them to pay for it

Prisma Hernandez
09/09/2013 8:51pm

In the short article “The More Factor” by Laurance Shames, he explains how America seems to be the land of the riches. Where in the early 1900s if you invested time, effort and money with a little bit of knowledge you were able to gain more and more. Shames logic was about people coming to America and creating more of what they already had to become part of the American Frontier. As he states in his article “Opportunity; more. This has been the American trinity from the very start.” Meaning that people see America as a great land where they can come and build to become the owner of what they have created. This also means that most Americans have the same mentality which later there can be a conflict among people, since everyone wants more and more to themselves.
Yes, I do believe that the “more” mindset is still occurring since a lot of people come to this land to try and start over, sometimes willing to give up on some dreams to reach a better goal. Others come out here for a better life with their families to have a better job and live a better life.
In life everything is for everyone, and everyone is for everything it’s good having a bit of everything, not too much of everything, but what the necessity extent is perfect for having. Wanting more and more is not a bad idea, although after having so much you don’t always get to enjoy what you have. The idea of having more is going on day by day. Setting different goals to reach and nearly always reaching them is a great example of wanting more and more. However, sometimes people can become selfish and just want everything for themselves. America has endless supplies and materials; however America does not have humans that will last an eternity. It is good to be ambitious and want everything in life and want more although you never know how long you will be able to enjoy everything you’ve always worked hard for. Obtaining the necessary material is good, wanting more and more and becoming ambitious is not fair.

09/09/2013 9:25pm

“Our governments will remain virtuous . . . as long as they are chiefly agricultural; and this will be as long as there shall be lands in any part of America. When they [the people] get piled upon another in large cities, as in Europe, they will become corrupt as in Europe, and go to eating one another.” The wise words of Thomas Jefferson brought upon a great deal of indulgence for more in the 1700s. To say the least, humans are never satisfied with what they have because honestly, let’s face it; we want to advance in all fields of intelligence than other countries. Humans have optimized their appetite for the next big thing once their 41 megapixel, waterproof, unbreakable, dancing phone has no value once the dancing and singing iPhone 10 has hit stores. Breaking back into history, for years, America has been the “land of opportunity and dreams,” and such meaning has attracted millions of average dream catchers to flee their piled up, competing country to make something bloom in the “promise land” of America.
According to Shames, Americans have this idea in their heads that everything is expendable as long as there is a monetary or tangible gain. The underlying goal of every “economically ambitious” American is to have more; everyone is hoping for something bigger and better than they already have. Americans believe that there is an endless supply of land and resources for them to exhaust and take risks on.
The way Shames uses the frontier as a model to describe America’s desire for more exudes the attitude of the way people act today. During the 1800s the people during this time believed in expanding their land in order to gain a better opportunity. The idea of staying in one place only hinders future successes. I think this is a good way to compare how America likes to expand not only their business, but also its influence. America’s restaurants and businesses are being opened up in various places throughout the world. Instead of closing one opportunity to go after another one as Shames says they did, America builds its influence in one and then continues on the next opportunity. The ambitious nature that people grasped from the 1800s has brought on a heap of immorality in today’s society. People took from “The More Factor,” the idea of being ambitious. They were ambitious and motivated because they had to be but also not at the expense of someone else losing. Shames is directing his critique of how the frontier was run to new generations of how the “modern frontier” should be run. They worked together in order to expand, but now people work against each other in order to succeed because people are always looking to do something grander than the next person. According to Shames, “the next generation would always ferret out opportunities that would be still more lavish than any had gone before.”
The more characteristic in a person is in the greatest way an incompetence of what else another brilliant human can create. To have to next big thing is always going to take the moral fact that people will always want more. It’s almost as being in high school forever. You are the popular teen if you upgraded to the wii10. To want more is not a dilemma in a sense that we are developing great ingenuity of creations as the years pass. However, with the fast pace of these ideas, the human population will never surrender to what else they can get their pesky little hearts on. We are set in a terminal salvage of having more and it is not bad. At least not for the government. As for us nothing is bad until it is too much. When will too much be?

Monserat Cabrera
09/10/2013 12:13am

Since money has existed who doesn’t want “more” of anything. I believe that the desire for more as a quality in America is good because then what is the motivation to succeed in life, accomplish goals, or get whatever we want. Over the decade like the book says, money’s value went up and then it downsized. The value of more also changed because before it meant only to have to support oneself it changed to ambition. Not to just be happy but to probably just show off and want even more without caring for the value of the real definition. Shames, explains the American frontier notion as a symbol that is what shaped the American way of doing things and the American sense of what’s worth doing. This all mean that Americans, “we” have put economy and money before us.
This is understandable because from what I understood is that we do want to better out future. No matter what the obstacle might be. Because we should be wanting what we do for out happiness and not the outcome. Like for example when going to school we are majoring in what we have passion for, not everyone sees it this way though because there’s also the ones that probably will major in law just because of the good pay (money). It is good to desire but always knowing the limit. Shame gives a great example. When it come to land the first thing was create house and get people to live their and start new life and then probably sell the property for good money so that later buy another property and still be wealthy and making a little more profit.
Many people do start from the bottom and succeed and become wealthy but instead of sharing they are stingy or never give back to show the thanks. Richer does make people more greedy and selfish. Because they think by giving a hand to the needy will make their fortune disappear and its not probably it will make their money abundance more. “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ― Charles Dickens

09/10/2013 12:41am

The American frontier begins the idea of Americans wanting more. Speculators would set up fake towns to tempt railroads, if railroads passed then the speculators would gain large amounts of money from visitors or residents. In Laurence Shames ,“ The More Factor” there is a great quote that presents an idea of the American identity, “The habit of more seemed to suggest that there was no such things as getting wiped out in America” this is relevant because America has been the land of opportunity and the idea of America deteriorating is not believable. As Shames argues, America will always keep booming, as a capitalist country, due to this American have believed that consuming more is helping the country stay at the top. Due to the large amount of consumption Americans do they have identified themselves as people who want more and more.

The Frontier suggest growths, expansion, and opportunities to Americans and I believe that it still exist today. The more mindset still occurs today because of mass production. Mass production is an important component to the More factor because companies are producing large amounts of products and it increases consumption. The industry is supporting consumption, therefore people are consuming more and more. Its an never ending cycle that will not stop until there's a limitation to mass production. The access to more and more things people are becoming ambitious and greedy, while the unfortunate are working hard to obtain more as well.

I think that the desire for more motivates Americans to reach out to the opportunities that they are given in the country. For example education, people are obtaining an education to live better lives. But wanting more has driven consumers to focus on consumption rather than the products. Companies are using the more factor to produce large amount of products to make money.

09/10/2013 5:59pm

Laurence Shames puts the idea of American frontier notions with American identity because he believes that the Americans put the economy first then all their other priorities.A statement Shames says is, "Americans have been somewhat backward in adopting values, hopes, ambitions that have to do with things other than more“. This means that Americans lost the importance of whats really important and their main focus is to acquire more. Ever since this country has been discovered, people always wanted to get more and more by trying to expand. This is where the railroad came into effect. They built the railroad in order to attract people to come live in their town and cause and economic boom in the town.
Of course the "more" mindset is still occuring in the 21st century but today things are much different than before. People now spend on products that is more for themselves. They spend their money on clothes, and technology. In today's era it is worse because it seems that people are addicted to wanting more. It's sad though because as we buy stuff we throw other stuff away. It seems as if we are not satisfied with what we have. It's not just about buying new stuff but also the addiction of having more money. Although money is important, people set aside what's important to accomplish that "addiction" that they have. We are all losing the meaningful values of life.
In my opinion wanting more is a bad quality for Americans. The reason for that is because Americans only focus on having more. Majority of the time they buy things that they don't really need. I believe that this country is pressuring society to obtain more at no cost. We have lost the significance of family and friends. I feel that this is the only country whose priority is how to obtain more even if we don't need it.

Steven Diermissen
09/10/2013 11:55pm

The American frontier of the late 19th century has affected the mindset of Americans in the early 21st century. Since the American frontier, many people have always had the ambition to obtain more. Journalist, author, and holder of a Harvard M.B.A, Laurence Shames describes in his article “The More Factor” that “The frontier, as reality and as a symbol, is what has shaped the American way of doing things and the American sense of what’s worth doing.” (Maasik 92) This ideology has impacted the United States as it has allowed the nation to expand and become one of the world’s superpowers in the late 20th and early 21st century. Many different aspects have been called frontiers from harnessing the power of nuclear energy to traveling to outer space to underwater expeditions in our vast, deep oceans. The economy has become the latest and most important frontier. Frontier, for Americans, has a positive connotation as it conveys opportunity and growth for many.

The desire for more, however, has overall become a corrupting quality in Americans as they have adopted the desire to obtain materialistic wealth and associate that with their self-worth. The desire for more can be seen everywhere in today’s society with the constant advertising and pressures to purchase the latest in fashion, media, and technology. Americans are willing to sacrifice everything in order to gain a substantial amount of money and possessions, just like the speculators have trying to attract the transcontinental railroad to one of the many towns built in the middle of nowhere. As Shames wrote, “Americans are somewhat backward in adopting values, hopes, ambitions that have to do with things other than more.” (Maasik 92) Many Americans today have taken to work more hours and spend less time with their loved ones just so they can gain more money to increase their spending power and obtain the latest products. Eventually Americans will run out of the supply of more and have to either adapt their values to expand beyond materialism, or adapt a new frontier to compensate for the loss of more.

mayra lomas
09/11/2013 12:15am

Laurence Shames refers that American viewed and expected the most favorable outcome when they decide to developed the country. “Americans have always been optimist, and optimist have always liked to Speculate. In Texas in the 1880, the speculative instrument of choice was towns, and there is no tale more American than this”. Shames relates the word “speculate and optimist” to wanting More. In 1880 Americans wanted expansion of land and wealth and over time Americans have become materialistic, what they see is what they want. Many people come to this prosperous country to do better in life and to fulfill the American dream and the goal is to have more than what they have before this has been the belief of the American dream “the legacy of the frontier”.
Today’s society is still optimistic and speculative. Modern society has become very materialistic. Kids are drag into this beliefs when at early age they already having unnecessary gears.

Ben Huh
09/11/2013 4:00am

Laurence Shames connects the American Frontier with American identity through a sense of having no boundaries or limits. Wide, open land was the frontier of many early Americans which meant opportunities of wealth and chance. This optimistic outlook on life enabled early Americans to pursue “more”. As Laurence Shames states, “the habit of more had been instilled as the operative truth among the economically ambitious. The habit of more seemed to suggest that there was no such thing as getting wiped out in America.” In other words, living in America gave you a second chance that one might not be privileged to have in their own country. Therefore, if you fail to achieve a goal, you still have the mindset of wanting “more”. This was especially a good mindset to have for expanding a country like the U.S.A.
In the 21st century, the “more” mindset is still occurring. People’s wanting of more things is what spoils us today. Although I think the “more factor” was influential in early America, I think it is a bad quality for Americans to have. We can never be fully satisfied with what we have if Americans do not change our views on life. As Laurence Shames wrote, “An ideal of contentment has yet to take root in soil traditionally more hospitable to an ideal of restless striving.” Money is the driving force behind such thinking. Money does not mean eternal happiness. If we always want the next best thing, how can we appreciate the small things in life? The best things in life are free. You cannot purchase small, intimate moments with friends and loved ones. At the same time, to have “more” of those memories do not cost anything at all.

09/11/2013 11:39am

According to the journalist Laurence Shames, he says in The More Factor, “The frontier, as reality and as symbol, is what has shaped the American way of doing things and the American sense of what’s worth doing.” (92) This quote simply states that we are the frontier. Yes, the “more” mindset is still occurring now in the 21st century. The more factors will always be the American way of thinking, it will never change. Until this day, everyone reaches for more whether they really need it or not. If the society really understood what they need instead of want we can have a better shaped union. I think that the desire for “more” is not a good quality for American’s because they are never going to know what they really needed instead they waste their time and money getting things that were not necessary. And the generation will continue to be the way it is and in my opinion it will get worse in the future with all the new technology that come out every year with luxurious cars and etc.

Jose Gomez
09/11/2013 4:41pm

America. As is not mentioned in the reading but the acquisition of land, was accomplished through killing of the Natives in order to take over their land. And so since there was ample land the frontier never seem to end, and as a way to expand "speculators" would create a semblance of a town and hoped that railroad might come through their town making them rich. The American dream is to always have more money, at whatever way possible. This is best explained by Shames in his words, "Once the nose count was completed, people were free to move on, and there was in fact a contingent of folks who made their living by keeping a cabin on skids and dragging for pay from one town to the other". Why I find this so interesting is because much lime those times, today a lot of people do the same though through a different way. That way is through Welfare, Food Stamps Money for rent among other aids from the Government. To a lot of people that don't like to work, this is a very good way to survive. The bad part about this is the fact that people who do like to work to support their families is not fair because of the tax that is taken out of our every pay check. In my opinion the blue print was set since back in those days, there is always the hard working men and women that accomplish economical growth and success through hard work. And there is the other kind of people who become rich, wealthy or survive through taking advantage of the system that America has set since the beginning. Don't get me wrong, I know there is a lot of families who do need help and the system is working the way it's supposed to but there is always those who take advantage of whatever or whichever way they can to avoid working to earn their everyday living.
The "more" mindset still occurs now, but in different ways. Using an example in a personal point of view of Floyd Mayweather Jr. In the interview part 2 of "All Access" before the Canelo Alvarez vs. Mayweather fight he said "you guys are thieves and I am a bank robber". What I find relevant about what he said, is the fact that I look at it as if he is using boxing as a realtor did in the Shames reading to gain profit from the sport. He is a great boxer he trains hard, but throughout his career or at least when he started making more money, and being more recognized he wanted more. The way he got to this point now is through choosing his fights, and he wants to fight the most popular contender so that in return he can profit from the fight even more. He made the most profit he could from all his resent bouts, Mayweather refused to fight the better fighter Paquiao not because of money, here he was thinking as a business man if he would have taken the fight and lost to Paquiao his undefeated career that he defends so much would've been in jeopardy. The significant repercussions, as his pay would be significant less from his future fights. He is a smart businessman as a promoter TMT (The Money Team) he signs boxers to fight for his company as a sponsors in the hopes of making revenue that way as well, and at the same time the fighters benefit because they get a opportunity to show case their talents. He does care about the sport, but to put this in Mayweathers words" I only care about making more money". The "more" factor is true if one is given the opportunity of making more, well why not take advantage of it as it won't knock on your door twice.
I personally think that wanting "more" is good, because that shows that one has character and is not satisfied with what one has if there is an opportunity to have more. My opinion is that there should be a point were more is bad, and we should know when that point is. Kids are not raised with family values, not because their parents don't care. But rather because they are so exposed to media and television, since their early childhood they are more aware of their surroundings from a very early age. The different programming on television, all the characters are so independent and are with friends most of the time. That takes away from family values and though they grow up with their parents, all kids want to do is leave the house and be independent. What networks care about is ratings and the more controversial the programming the better. What kids don't understand is that most of the shows are fictional, and are just acted. Once out in society the value of family is lost, because the main objective is to work and make money thinking of themselves before family. Now I am not saying that everyone is like this but mostly everyone grows up with an independent mentality that want to achieve more for personal benefits before thinking of others. Like I said before it is good to want more, but to me family is more important than having all the money in the world so to speak.

Albert Virgen
09/12/2013 2:11am

Laurence Shames uses several examples to expose the American culture as that of a constant want for more. More in the sense that the necessary amount needed in order to satisfy the wants of the American population isn’t good enough. One of his best descriptions is the term of ‘frontier’. This American frontier entails endless opportunities to become filthy rich. This was the essence of American optimism. One of the points that really strikes me is the fact that “a sense of quality has lagged far behind a sense of scale. An Ideal of contentment has yet to take root in soil traditionally more hospitable to an ideal of restless striving. The concept of growth has been applied almost exclusively to things that can be measured, counted, weighed.”
Nowadays “more” has become the social norm. It is fairly regular to see someone with two to three cell phones, two gaming systems, two dogs, etc. When you have more of something, others see you as having a higher place in society. This can be the image of ourselves that we are trying to portray to others; a false sense of social status, and an unlimited hunger for the “toys” even at the risk of landing oneself in debt.
If we speak solely about mindless consumption, then we are at fault for carelessness. When we consume solely for the sake of consuming it can be detrimental to the growth of the United States as a nation because we are focused more so on the quantity of items you have rather than the quality.
Consumption is necessary not only for economic purposes but also to better ourselves. We need to strive and earn the right to have the items that we most desire. The best and the newest technology, the couch suited to YOUR needs, and most importantly to continue to look for improvements in the products we purchase, and ourselves.


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    Prof. David Fulton

    I received my MA in English from CSU, Northridge and his .MFA in Creative Writing from CSU, Long Beach. I have  been teaching College English since 2004.. I am a published poet and was recently a Pushcart Prize finalist for my poem "Hubris" In addition to teaching,, I enjoy cooking, figuring out how to garden, going to the gym, researching Shakespeare, and watching MMA. 

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