What is the 'Black Market'
Economic activity that takes place outside government-sanctioned channels. Black market transactions usually occur “under the table” to let participants avoid government price controls or taxes. The black market is also the venue where highly controlled substances or products such as drugs and firearms are illegally traded. Black markets can take a toll on an economy, since they are shadow markets where economic activity is not recorded and taxes are not paid. In the financial context, the biggest black market exists for currencies in nations with strict currency controls. While most consumers may shun the black market because they consider it sleazy, there may be rare occasions when they have no choice but to turn to this necessary evil.
BREAKING DOWN 'Black Market'
The black market's many drawbacks include the risk of fraud, the possibility of violence, being saddled with counterfeit goods or adulterated products (which is especially dangerous in the case of medications), and the fact that the buyer has no recourse.
As for currency black markets, they exist primarily in nations that – apart from currency controls – have weak economic fundamentals (such as a high inflation rate and low currency reserves) and a fixed exchange rate where the domestic currency is pegged at an unrealistically high level to the US dollar or other currency. As a result, the currency black market is flourishing in nations like Argentina, Iran, and Venezuela.
Participating in the black market is not always a black and white matter. Suppose you are on vacation with your family in an exotic location and run out of formula for your baby? If there is nothing available in local stores and the only way to acquire baby formula is through a black market transaction, few people would hesitate to make the purchase.
What about paying three times the face value of a ticket to a scalper to see your favorite band or football team? This is also a black market transaction that most people may find justifiable. Further, in a number of developing nations, life-saving medicines are in short supply and often, the only alternative is to procure them through the black market. While critics may carp that this only serves to perpetuate the illegal and unethical practice of profiteering from someone else’s misfortune, participating in the black market is a relatively easy decision to make when someone’s life is at stake.
Is Tess in ‘Tess of the d'Urbervilles' portrayed as being responsible for her own demise? [pdf 40 KB]
Yours is a beautifully clear essay. You write very well, and your prose is delightful to read. You've also done your research and it shows. There is a remarkable lack of vagary about society or feminism in your piece, and you've picked canny quotes from your secondary sources that elucidate and situate your arguments.
You've also located some wonderfully specific quotations from your primary source to support your argument that Hardy's narrator sympathises with Tess. Some of your close readings are wonderfully astute, as when you point out that Tess implores Angel, rather than commanding him. Slightly less persuasive is your assertion that Tess is the victim of Alec's eyes; I suspect you might have found better quotations, descriptions, or incidents denouncing Alec's gaze.
You are clearly very good at pursuing and proving an argument. I encourage you to be a bit more experimental in your next essay; perhaps choose a less straightforward topic and see where it takes you.
Please see penciled notes throughout on shortening sentences and watching for comma splices (please look this term up in a style manual if it is unfamiliar).