Infinite Wealth of the Land

“The idea that the wealth of the American West was inexhaustible drove prospectors back and forth across the plains, and fostered these legends about the life of the gold-hunters: their luck, their bacchanalias, their mobility. The wealth of the land was infinite! The assumption is with us still: in our attitudes about the cars we drive, the way we heat our homes and our businesses, the way we and our government spend our money. There is always more oil to be found (recently, if only we would give the oil companies more incentive to drill for it), there is always more gold to be discovered. It is an idea and an assumption that has become part of the way we view our world and our destiny in it.”