I think the sentence is perhaps meant to be read like this:
this commodity lends itself admirably (1) to become the object of syndicates, trusts, speculation of various kinds, and (2) to the advantages of a few middlemen.
If you interpret it this way, the "and" is absolutely necessary. I too don't like the plural "advantages", even with the different interpretation.
Pullover Graphic Pocket Pattern Hoodie Letter with Long Leisure Sleeves Xw8q47