A free market economic system is efficient at meeting human desires with limited resources; although the equity or justice of the situation will depend on government policy, such the tax system. Limited resources are a 'hard' constraint – we can't use what doesn't exist. For environmental problems, however, the problems are much more severe, because nature cannot enforce the limitations that may be necessary. The constraints are 'soft' – we can violate them, but at high future cost. Nature can in a sense 'punish' the future inhabitants of the globe, but those who are punished are not necessarily the same as those that have made the violations. Humanity must therefore impose restrictions on its own behaviour, including legal or financial incentives such as taxes or caps, or face severe damage to nature.
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