Black Market Britain: 1939-1955

Hardcover | April 14, 2013

byMark Roodhouse

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Thanks to rationing and price control, Britain's underground economy flourished during the 1940s and early 1950s as producers, traders, and professional criminals helped consumers to get a little extra "on the side", "from under the counter", or "off the back of a lorry". Yet widespreadevasion of regulations designed to ensure "fair shares for all" did not undermine the austerity policies that characterised these years.In Black Market Britain, Mark Roodhouse argues that Britons showed self-restraint in their illegal dealings. The means, motives, and opportunities for evasion were not lacking. The shortages were real, regulations were not watertight, and enforcement was haphazard. Fairness, not patriotism andrespect for the law, is the key to understanding this self-restraint. By invoking popular notions of a fair price, a fair profit, and a fair share, government rhetoric limited black marketeering as would-be evaders had to justify their offences both to themselves and others.Black Market Britain underlines the importance of fairness to those seeking a richer understanding of economic life in modern Britain.

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Thanks to rationing and price control, Britain's underground economy flourished during the 1940s and early 1950s as producers, traders, and professional criminals helped consumers to get a little extra "on the side", "from under the counter", or "off the back of a lorry". Yet widespreadevasion of regulations designed to ensure "fair sh...

Mark Roodhouse is a Lecturer in History at the University of York. His research focuses on the economic and social history of modern Britain.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:April 14, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199588457

ISBN - 13:9780199588459

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Table of Contents

Introduction: the "unethical" consumerPart I: "Under the counter": evading economic control1. "Large enough to cause concern": gauging the extent of noncompliance2. "A matter of friendship": the grey market3. Beating the ration: the black marketPart II: "A stiff rod in pickle": attacking black markets4. War and order: securing compliance5. On the street: enforcing the law6. Sitting on the bench: the legal lotteryPart III: "Black sheep - black markets": making moral choices7. "We all fiddle": legitimating evasion8. Thieves' kitchens: local markets for local people9. "No basic, more spivs": public endorsementConclusion: a fair tradeSelect BibliographyIndex