achieve it. Let the micro forces work themselves out--they will automatically achieve future livability.15
Many people still think that while the goal of holding constant the costs of material production is basically a good one, there need be no special policy tool such as a severance tax to achieve it. Market forces will automatically keep the costs of material production constant. However, this thinking is giving way to the idea that micro forces will not automatically provide food, energy, and other materials at constant or declining costs. For 100 years the cost of wood production has not been kept constant by market forces, and the government is betting hundreds of millions of dollars a year that the private market will not by itself develop technology to provide substitute energy materials in a timely fashion. As our ability to degrade the environment grows, we can no longer assume that somehow nature (or markets) will harmonize our actions with the conditions for permanent livability. Worse than the boy who cried wolf prematurely are the villagers who too carelessly thought that the wolf would never come.