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The black market refers to any economic activity that is illegal, unrecorded, unreported, or in violation of the law. Other terms used to describe this illegal activity include underground, shadow, subterranean, informal, parallel, or irregular economy. Another related term is the gray market, but this describes goods that are sold and not manufactured under patent, trademark, copyright, or exclusive distribution laws. The term black market derives its name from economic activities conducted in the dark or shadow, since it is hidden from the law.

Black markets exist so that individuals may evade taxes or restrictive government controls, sell illegal goods or services, or obtain goods through unsanctioned channels. Examples of black market activities include trading stolen goods such as illegal drugs, offering illegal services such as ...

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