Many of the commenters seem to be arguing with the HN title, without having actually read the article. (As usual, of course). But in this case it wasn't even the article's own title.
Yes, the sharing economy is 'part of the real economy', as another commenter said. It's just a part based on desperation and precarity.
Another essay from my local paper in Baltimore: "The Desperate Hustle as a Way of Life" http://blogs.citypaper.com/index.php/the-news-hole/desperate...
That fact supports the article though; Baltimore is a sad, sad place. Everyone is very nice there, though. One of the nicest towns I've ever lived in. I never really heard about any gypsy cab related crime when I lived there, either. People become more trusting by necessity when they're desperate, but they also seem to become more trustworthy for mutual benefit.
The first time I got off of the Greyhound in Baltimore, the woman who picked me up hailed a gypsy cab for us to ride to her apartment in. It was a first for me.
So, yeah, see, that's fucked up thing -- Uber and Lyft are in bmore too, although in a legal 'grey area' -- wait, 'grey area', how come the hacks are just plain illegal and they are a 'grey area'? How come there is significant support for legalizing uber and lyft, but not hacks? Put a white guy getting rich at the top, and it's different now?