My mother would be mortified by my behavior.
Since before I could walk she warned me about “stranger danger”: Don’t get into a car with strangers; don’t accept candy from strangers; don’t’ go into a strangers house, etc.
What would she think if she knew I had taken an Uber to an Airbnb?
Growing up in the 1970s parents and teachers drilled into my young brain the idea that the most dangerous people in the world (aside from Commies) were “strangers.” People that you didn’t know were out to do you harm, so just stay away from them. The message took sunk in; I became leery of any interactions with people I didn’t know. Even as an adult I maintained the impression that when I walked out my front door I was entering a low-trust environment.
So it was with some hesitancy that I took my first Uber. But when I did a new world opened up to me. It wasn’t just a ride with a stranger (I had, after all, been in a taxi before) it was an expansion of my “circle of trust.” As economist Tim Hartford says, “One of the underrated achievements of the modern world has been to develop ways to extend the circle of trust by depersonalising it.”
Trusting strangers not only makes my life easier, it makes our country more prosperous. Hartford adds,