Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published in The American Prospect, an independent political magazine. If you want to read more of their work, sign up for their free newsletter.

Six years ago, I was at a conference at the University of Chicago, the intellectual heart of corporate-friendly capitalism, when my eyes found the cover of the Chicago Booth Review, the business school’s flagship publication. “Are You Ready for Personalized Pricing?” the headline asked. I wasn’t, so I started reading.

The story looked at how online shopping, persistent data collection, and machine-learning algorithms could combine to generate the stuff of economists’ dreams: individual prices for each customer. It even recounted an experiment in 2015, where online employment website ZipRecruiter essentially outsourced its pricing strategy to two University of Chicago economists, Sanjog Misra and Jean-Pierre Dubé.