Economists have always had difficulty trying to put an actual value on the future.
They can crunch data to estimate what the value of an item or a commodity might be at a future date.
Their formulas will even tell them - or so they believe - how the economy will perform over the next few weeks, months, or (with increasingly questionable accuracy) years.
But few economists dare tackle the question of the future's intrinsic value.
What does it cost today's generation if tomorrow's generation has no future?
It's a difficult question. Most people, after all, think in immediate terms: what are they doing today, this weekend, or maybe this summer?
Some don't think as far as the inevitable end of their own lives, fewer consider conditions their children will face after they are gone, and remarkably few think what the world will be like by the time their grandchildren grow old.
And for those who have no children, future value dwindles still more quickly.
When asked, most people leave such considerations to others - they trust that our political and business leaders will deal with "it".
But the truth is that our business leaders operate on a bottom line that is concerned less and less with future value - and consequently puts little or no value in the future.
And our political leaders, it seems, are content with following the business lead. The Harper government, which we entrust with our future, has been doing little to inspire trust with its make-abuck-today environmental policies.
With the federal Conservative agenda of dismantling world-beating environmental research, Canada's once-leading reputation for good science is being relegated to history - a place that is quickly losing our future.