From cigarettes to knockoffs, what’s available on the black market? Lecturer in modern history Mark Roodhouse investigates the illegal trade in counterfeit and stolen goods in Britain from the interwar period to today. And there’s always a boom in the underground economy when austerity measures hit, whether with “losses of goods in transit” during the Second World War or horsemeat discovered in packaged meals in 2013. Most 1940s black marketers weren’t serious criminals but struggling retailers, dealing with everyone from organized criminal gangs to someone on the breadline just trying to make ends meet. Today, people wish to maintain their lifestyle in straitened circumstances, fueling demand for illegal goods.
Mark Roodhouse speaks with BBC Wiltshire’s Mid-Morning Show about the history of the black market.
(c) BBC Wiltshire
Dr Mark Roodhouse is a Lecturer in History at the University of York. He studied history at Cambridge and Oxford before arriving at York, where he teaches modern British history. Mark is currently writing his second book about organised crime in mid-twentieth-century Britain. His first book is Black Market Britain: 1939-1955, published by Oxford University Press. Read his previous blog post “Eating horse in austerity Britain.”