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1. an association of business enterprises or individuals organized to undertake a joint project requiring considerable capital
2. any association formed to carry out an enterprise or enterprises of common interest to its members
3. a board of syndics or the office of syndic
4. (in Italy under the Fascists) a local organization of employers or employees



(1) One form of monopolistic, cartel-type agreement, aimed at establishing control over the market primarily of a single, mass-produced product and made for the purpose of eliminating competition between monopolies in the marketing and purchasing of raw materials and, thus, for the purpose of obtaining the greatest profit (seeCARTEL). Syndicate members sell their products and purchase their raw materials through a single sales office. The sales office receives all orders and distributes them in accordance with the quotas agreed upon by the monopolies, which deliver their commodities to the office at a price previously agreed on. Syndicate members maintain their independence as far as production and legal status are concerned; in contrast to a cartel, however, they lose their commercial independence.

Syndicates flourished in the early 20th century until World War II in Germany, France, and other countries, mostly in the extractive industries. Interwar Germany had several hundred syndicates, the largest being the Rhine-Westphalia Coal Syndicate and the German Potash Syndicate. Prerevolutionary Russia also had syndicates, such as Prodamet (metallurgy), Produ-gol’ (Donets Basin coal), and Med’ (copper), which controlled the marketing of as much as 90 percent of production in the corresponding branches of industry.

Syndicates, as a form of monopolistic agreement within a given branch of industry, have lost their former importance. Antitrust laws have limited horizontal concentration, that is, concentration within a given branch of industry, and high levels of monopolization prevail in most such branches; thus, other, more flexible forms of monopolistic agreement have come into use (seeCAPITALIST MONOPOLIES).

(2) In the USSR, during the period of the New Economic Policy, a type of economic organization that combined a group of industrial trusts for the wholesale marketing of production, the purchasing of raw materials, and the planning of trade operations. The first Soviet syndicate—the All-Union Textile Syndicate—was created in 1922; in the period 1922–28 a total of 23 syndicates were in operation. Syndicates were eliminated in 1929 and 1930.


Lenin, V. I. Imperializm, kak vysshaia stadiia kapitalizma. In Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 27.
Hilferding, R. Finansovyi kapital. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from German.)
Motylev, V. E. Finansovyi kapital i ego organizatsionnye formy. Moscow, 1959.
Khmel’nitskaia, E. L. Ocherki sovremennoi monopolii. Moscow, 1971.



organized crime unit throughout major cities of the United States. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 2018]
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