Your free-thinking readers are aware that, last year, the US Federal Trade Commission finally began to warn the American public about frauds which promise impossible rewards from bogus 'Multi-Level Marketing business opportunities.' However, officials at the FTC in the Bureau of Consumer Protection still treat this multi-billion dollar racket on a case by case basis, and (despite 50+ years of damning evidence) they have yet to conclude that there has been no such thing as a lawful 'MLM business opportunity' in which significant numbers of participants have made their livings from regularly retailing products, and/or services, to the public for a profit, as opposed to regularly handing over their cash to corporate structures controlled by racketeers, in exchange for effectively-unsaleable products, and/or services, whilst unlawfully recruiting more and more, temporary, contributing participants to perpetuate the same, economically-unviable closed-market.
To put this absurd situation into perspective, so-called 'MLM schemes' can be seen as examples of essentially the same expensive, but valueless, placebo which have all been peddled as a universal cure for poverty, and which (in order to work) had to be bought, and taken, regularly over an extended period of time. Despite the fact that tens of millions of ill-informed individuals have swallowed these sugar-coated pills, no one has actually proved that 'MLM' has brought anyone (other than the people peddling it) any quantifiable benefits.
Yesterday evening, I happened to catch a glimpse of a laughable European television programme in which yet another sugar-coated 'MLM business opportunity' was shown. An attractive young woman who described herself as an 'Ambassador,' was filmed conducting a meeting of about a dozen middle-class women. For obvious reasons, the journalists who made this entertaining documentary seemed to have had little interest in what lay behind what they had witnessed and inadvertently promoted. Without any independent supporting evidence, a male commentator laughed and explained that selling boring plastic containers (a reference to 'Tupperware') was a thing of the past, more than 900 Euros of erotic lingerie and sex-toy sales had just been conducted and that the seller's commission was around 250 Euros. However, the so-called 'Ambassador' was then interviewed and she used the revealing term 'pyramid.' She had been taught by the 'Ambassador' who recruited her, to recruit all her customers. She explained how she then taught her recruits to recruit more recruiters, and how the more recruiters they all recruited into the pyramid: the more they all could earn. At this point, the commentator limply assured viewers that pyramid selling is prohibited by law, but this type of multi-level, direct selling is perfectly legal and tightly-controlled.
Tellingly, the commentator did not attempt to explain where all the miraculous profits have come from in this particularly distracting 'MLM.'
David Brear (copyright 2011)