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All You Can Pay: How Companies Use Our Data to Empty Our Wallets

Anna Bernasek, D. Mongan

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Prose: non-fiction, Economics

The next frontier in business has the power to disrupt free market capitalism as we know it: the use of big data to create dynamic, custom pricing for goods and services based on what you can and will pay.

You don't care who can access your data because you have nothing to hide. But what if corporations were using that data to control your decisions?As millions of consumers carry on unaware, powerful corporations race to collect more and more data about our behaviours, needs, and desires. This massive trove of data represents one of the most valuable assets on the planet.In All You Can Pay , Anna Bernasek and D. T. Mongan show how companies use what they know about you to determine how much you are willing to pay for everything you buy. From college tuition to plane tickets to groceries to medicine, companies already set varying prices based on intimate knowledge of individual wants and purchasing power. As the consumer age fades into history, rapidly changing prices and complex offers tailored to each individual are spreading like a fog over the free market. Data giants know everything about us before we enter stores or open our browsers. We may think that the Internet lets us find the best deals, but the extensive information companies have about us means that the price we see tends toward the maximum they know we can pay. In a momentous shift, the economics of information will turn our economy on its head. Fair bargaining is over.

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