Economists have long recognized that individuals overvalue their present interests over future concerns. But it’s another matter entirely when we can no longer rely on our political institutions to pursue our longer-term and higher-order preferences. To borrow Robert Monks’ line about the corporate form, a state aimed at nothing beyond short-term private wealth generation is little more than an externalizing machine. Unfortunately, this is increasingly the trajectory of our politics. Wealth concentrates among a small financial elite and gets pumped back into government, not as tax dollars to facilitate collective decision-making, but as lobbying and campaign money intended to deflect regulation and further entrench the self-serving policies that helped generate these unprecedented levels of concentrated private wealth. There is a cancer-like logic to this feedback loop, where localized economic growth comes more and more at the expense of the larger body politic.