black market

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black market,

the selling or buying of commodities at prices above the legal ceiling or beyond the amount allotted to a customer in countries that have placed restrictions on sales and prices. Such trading was common during World War II wherever the demand and the means of payment exceeded the available supply. Most of the warring countries attempted to equalize distribution of scarce commodities by rationing and price fixing. In the United States black-market transactions were carried on extensively in meat, sugar, tires, and gasoline. In Great Britain, where clothing and liquor were rationed, these were popular black-market commodities. In the United States, rationing terminated at the end of the war, but a black market in automobiles and building materials continued while the scarcity lasted. In the decades following World War II, as the countries of Eastern Europe were trying to industrialize their economies, extensive black-market operations developed because of a scarcity of consumer goods. Black marketing is also common in exchange of foreign for domestic currency, typically in those countries that have set the official exchange value of domestic currency too high in terms of the purchasing power of foreign money. Black-market money activities also grow when holders of domestic currency are anxious to convert it into foreign currency through a fear that the former is losing its purchasing power as a result of inflation. See also bootleggingbootlegging,
in the United States, the illegal distribution or production of liquor and other highly taxed goods. First practiced when liquor taxes were high, bootlegging was instrumental in defeating early attempts to regulate the liquor business by taxation.
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See W. Rundell, Black Market Money (1964).

black market

a. any system in which goods or currencies are sold and bought illegally, esp in violation of controls or rationing
b. (as modifier): black market lamb
2. the place where such a system operates
References in periodicals archive ?
BEIRUT: The Syrian government is cracking down on black-market currency exchange businesses and individuals who transfer local or foreign money out of the country in what central bank Governor Adib Mayaleh said was the latest move to stabilize the value of the plummeting pound.
And government-sponsored vaccination programs such as those in China and Thailand reduce the risk of farmers using black-market vaccines.
Though illegal, black-market cassettes are plentiful enough to have become the foundation of a lively Persian rock scene.
He began telling me stories of being in the Army and doing all the things that Elwood did: selling drugs, engaging in black-market activities, doing drugs himself, and the massive scale of it.
Lee Wolosky, a former National Security Council official, calls black-market dealers a new and significant security threat.