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Artel (Russian); literally, a gang. Actually, a group of workmen joined together for the cooperative performance of a work project and the mutual sharing of the income received. The custom arose when groups of workers left rural areas for the towns and cities where they worked, ate and lived together as a family sharing income and expenses. They elected a leader who supervised all activities and dealt with employers or contractors. Some artels were formed for temporary jobs like building a house, bridge or road. Others were more like fraternal guilds or craft unions with as many as 200 members pooling their wages. Before the Communist Revolution of 1918, they operated not only in crafts, construction and industry but also in fishing, forestry, banking and even in prisons and stock exchanges. Under the Soviet regime, artels were largely confined to communal farms where the workers lived together.[1]


  1. Percy L. Greaves, Jr. "Mises Made Easier ", 1974. Referenced 2014-06-20.