Black Market

Black market, underground economy, or shadow economy is a clandestine market or series of transactions that has some aspect of illegality or is not compliant with an institutional set of rules. If the rule defines the set of goods and services whose production and distribution is prohibited or restricted by law, non-compliance with the rule constitutes a black-market trade since the transaction itself is illegal. Such transactions include the illegal drug trade[clarification needed], prostitution (where prohibited), illegal currency transactions, and human trafficking.

Participants try to hide their illegal behavior from the government or regulatory authority. Cash is the preferred medium of exchange in illegal transactions, since cash transactions are less easily traced. Common motives for operating in black markets are to trade contraband, avoid taxes and regulations, or evade price controls or rationing. Typically, the totality of such activity is referred to with the definite article, e.g., “the black market in bush meat”.

The black market is distinct from the grey market, in which commodities are distributed through channels that, while legal, are unofficial, unauthorized, or unintended by the original manufacturer, and the white market, in which trade is legal and official.

Black money is the proceeds of an illegal transaction, on which income and other taxes have not been paid, and which can only be legitimised by some form of money laundering. Because of the clandestine nature of the black economy, it is not possible to determine its size and scope.