After the Civil War, newly freed slaves and poor whites in the Deep South often became "sharecroppers" who farmed land owned by others and paid a share of the crops. Barely able to eke out a living and unable to buy farms, they became indebted to the owners and locked into a life of poverty. It sounds strange at first, writes Steven Greenhut, but San Diego's taxicab system — like such systems elsewhere – has parallels to that antiquated economic model. Eighty-nine percent of the city's cab drivers rent cabs. Because of a city-imposed cap on the number of cabs, these drivers cannot go out on their own. There is no an opportunity to remove these economic shackles.