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Marche noir: Capitalism's black heart in France, 1939-1950

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • SSHRC IG funded 2013: Black markets in wartime expose serious economic and social tensions; the choices faced in wartime are instructive for understanding contemporary issues in economic regulation. In France, wartime shortages and state controls accentuated stresses that reveal critical state-market and market-consumer relations. My primary objective is to research and write a history of the proliferation of black market activity in France in the 1940s in the context of shortages and state controls during the Occupation and the postwar years. I will examine state policy, business efforts to deal with shortages and state controls, and civilians' efforts to obtain the food, shelter and clothing they needed to survive. My study will include close attention to food supply and food security, including the regional variations and the urban/rural divide in access to food. Detailed study of the economic problems in France will allow a comparative analysis of the use of controls and black markets in Occupied Europe and in Allied countries (particularly Britain and the United States). The state and market responses to the economic challenges of the wartime shortages and the relationship between state controls and black markets involve much starker choices than in peacetime, but as such they allow a clearer view of the issues of government control and market behaviour that are relevant to current debates about the role for economic regulation and the functioning of free markets.

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  • Type of Item
    Research Material
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    © Moure, Kenneth. All rights reserved other than by permission. This document embargoed to those without UAlberta CCID until 2021.
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    Moure, Kenneth