Thursday, February 2, 2017

MLM and Visions of Grandeur

Today's blog post is about the delusions MLMs provide in reference to success. MLMers may start their pitch by suggesting it is a reasonable side income, but that quickly goes to the waste side when a consumer agrees to join. Instead that side income bit turns into a life long residual income bonanza filled with the most wonderful imagery their minds could conceive. Once a consumer has been pushed passed the basic levels of introduction into an MLM, then the dreaming begins and it doesn't stop until that entry level MLMer goes broke.

Psych central had a great article about the change in mindset for the millennial generation. There seems to be a larger emphasis on being famous and that stems from a set of outside influences consistently being pumped into them. Sure there have always been people that have had big dreams of success in Hollywood, but there was also less emphasis on "following your dreams" and more emphasis on getting a good education and being productive in society. Also, it was never frowned upon previously to have a middle class income and a reasonable work position, however that mindset seems to have changed and there is now a larger emphasis than ever on "making it to the top".

One of the recurring themes we continue to come back to is, a person started from the bottom and now they have arrived. There can be a multitude of different scenarios, but they always have the same formula. Everyone eats these stories up and this is why we keep pumping out more and more stories about kids from the ghetto, a different country, or disabled suddenly becoming immensely rich and successful. We see shows like Behind the Scenes from VH1, Crib's from MTV, 30 for 30 on ESPN, America's Got Talent, The Voice, or any late night talk show involving regular celebrity appearances. These stories and television shows do not show the overwhelmingly low success rate to be one of these stars, and they consistently encourage people by suggesting these lifestyles are attainable without supporting any statistics. There are so many shows suggesting being famous is not only ideal, but it is morphing into the main value and identity young people want.

MLMs are a different version of these same television shows. They consistently show outrageous amounts of wealth and luxury while preaching it can all be yours for little to no effort, very small monthly fees, and by helping your fellow members of society. They continuously leave out the statistics for success and prey upon people's insatiable need for more, especially if they are impoverished. MLMs will promise you everything under the sun and they will offer an MLMer the chance to become the person they idolize on stage. This is ultimately a false offering filled with impossible odds, but they are keen to only show the success, a similar concept to Vegas slot machines.

MLMs are preying upon people being warped by visions of grandeur as well as those with the "nothing to lose" attitude. They are striving to recruit people that are trapped in the childhood mentality of being "special" without doing anything to garner that classification. They want people looking for the big lottery win. They are going for the emotional people that can be swept up by a nice story and a fake smile. They want people that will never question their methods and simply focus on the carrot at the end of the stick.

If you have a story involving abuses from your upline and would like me to share it on this blog as a guest post, then please e-mail me and I will be more than happy to post it! Your stories are not as unique as you may think, and your stories are some of the most impactful resources we have to fight MLMs. I will keep your anonymity upon request.


  1. A very good post, but let me add that this is not limited to the recent Millennial generation. It has been a part of American mythology right from the beginning of our nation's history.

    People have always come to America to "make it big," and to "climb the ladder." It's part of our national psychology. The idea of leading a simple, satisfying, and non-competitive life is anathema to most Americans. Have you noticed that Americans can't even have a cooking show on television without turning it into a "contest" or a "Face-off" between competing chefs?

    Read Arthur Mller's play "The Death of a Salesman." The hero, Willy Loman, is a pathetic loser who is desperate to "make it big," and to have his sons "make it big." The tragedy of the play is that Loman (like his sons) is basically a nobody with little talent who is going to wind up on the ash-heap, regardless of his absurd dreams. And he is so caught up in dreaming that he can no longer distinguish his hopes from actual reality. Sounds like Amway, doesn't it?

    MLMs are peculiarly American. What is horrible is that the American mentality of "making it big" has now poisoned the entire world, which is why MLMs have become wildly popular outside of the United states.

    1. Anonymous,

      Thank you for pointing out that this ideology has existed previously. I don't have as much experience with other generations, but the pervasive messages in our current television shows have molded people my age into egocentric lunatics hellbent on some sort of stardom.

      I will definitely look into that play and start to develop a list of more pieces of literature to read. Thank you for the referral.

  2. After all, 'MLM' is the American Dream Made Nightmare.

    'MLM/Prosperity Gospel' racketeers aren't the first con-artists to have realised that the widespread belief in the American Dream myth represents a deep well of credulity to syphon.

    The 'MLM' phenomenon and the '100% positive thinking/never quit' phenomenon have obviously fed off each another.

    The likes of Napoleon Hill pretended that it was possible to collect the secrets of the rich and successful, and then set down a 'step-by- step plan to achieve success' which anyone could follow. Hill made a hell of good living peddling this simplistic nonsense, and soon there were countless copy-cats - including Norman Vincent Peale (Donald Trump's Pastor).

    It goes without saying that no where in the works of any '100% positive thinking' guru will you find a common-sense warning that '100% positive thinking' is just another way of saying unquestioning belief, and unquestioning belief in a dissimulated pyramid scheme is actually a plan to commit financial suicide.

    1. David -

      Thank you for that connection of 100% positive belief is the same as unquestioning faith. Also, that video is both enlightening and horrifying because it leaves no room for antitheses to his own world views. Trump clearly proved that he is a brick wall when it comes to debating and that nothing can penetrate his irrational logic because it will be met with more irrational logic.

  3. The MLM pitch is to show the very best case scenario (going diamond) but now showing what is likely or what is typical. The audience, often young people see displays of wealth and accept it as the truth. The reality is that most diamonds, unless they are the Q12 variety, live normal middle class lives. The math bears it out if you examine the numbers and use basic logic and reasoning.

    In fact, without the "tools" income, I believe diamonds with wives and kids would struggle financially on diamond income without tool income. The math bears this one out too.

    1. Joe,

      Absolutely! It would be like me telling my parents when I was in grade school that I was doing great because I got an A+ in P.E., even though I failed the rest of my studies. If I just keep reminding them enough about how great I am at P.E. and don't mention the other subjects, then maybe it will sound more substantial.

  4. John - More and more people are finally coming to realise that challenging the parallel reality of Trump and his acolytes, is a pointless waste of time. Their devious responses are almost 100% predictable.

    Trump's narcissistic model of reality was instilled in him during his childhood, and particularly through his family's adherence to Norman Vincent Peale's cult of self-worship.

    In recent years, Trump has been peddling himself as an infallible winner. In the past, Trump's business had more than just a whiff of Carlo Ponzi and Bernie Madoff about it.

    In brief, Trump first pretended to be an infallible winner in order to obtain other people's money to gamble with. The more money he obtained: the more successful he appeared to be and more and more ill-informed people fell over themselves to invest in his act. Yet when Trump's grandiose schemes didn't pay off, he'd already made sure that he wasn't personally liable.

    Classically, the more that people have believed Trump's comic book act: the more he's believed it himself.

    Trump has acquired the presidency of the USA with essentially the same transparent act of infallibility as he used to acquire control of capital assets in the 1990s.

    Unfortunately, Trump (a 70+ year old man man who all his adult life has acted under the delusion that nothing he does can be wrong) is now in a position to gamble with the future of human civilisation.

  5. On a humourous note - I see that Trump's choice of Betsy DeVos for US Education Secretary has led to this empty-headed front for the 'Amway' mob being satirised on Saturday Night Live.

  6. David Brear is an excellent commentator on MLMs and on the psychology that motivates persons to join various scams and ripoffs. But with all due respect to him, as an Englishman he knows nothing about American politics.

    His attacks on Donald Trump simply show his leftish bigotry... understandable, perhaps, in someone from a British Labourite background, but hardly a valid credential for judging the American political situation. The election of Donald Trump was a major victory for sanity, constitutional government, and the restoration of American principles of law and justice. The election of his opponent, the utterly corrupt, vicious, ad vindictive Hillary Clinton, would have been a victory for a prejudicial politically correct tyranny of the worst sort. Brear doesn't live in the States, so I don't expect him to understand this. But as a foreigner he should perhaps think twice before lecturing Americans on who should run our country.

    As for Betsy De Vos, yes, she is from an Amway family. But her record as an opponent of the utterly venal control of American public education by the scum in the teachers' unions makes her precisely the person we Americans need as the head of the Department of Education. If Brear had any idea of how totally rotten and corrupt these teachers' unions are, and how they have debased and degraded American education, he'd think a lot harder before taking pot shots at Ms. De Vos.

    I say this an a violent anti-Amway partisan of long standing. I hate Amway and all MLMs, and I think David Brear has done an excellent job of exposing the essential corruption of MLM schemes. But he should steer clear of American politics, concerning which he seems to know nothing.

    Also, John Doe seems to have forgotten that in one of his earlier replies he said that he too was fed up with the anti-Trump rhetoric that is choking the air in the United States. But now all of a sudden he seems to be following Brear's lead in attacking Trump.

    Which is it, John Doe? You can't talk our of both sides of your mouth, and expect to be taken seriously.

    1. Anonymous --

      Maybe this seems confusing because I'm truly not a fan of Trump, but I am sick of the anti-Trump rhetoric from political memes on places like Facebook. With that being stated, I don't think it is out of character for someone to make fun of Donald Trump and his debate "style". He was one of the worst debaters in history and honestly made the whole format atrocious, but I don't consider that the same as saying everyone who voted Trump is racist, homophobic, deplorable, white supremacist jerk-off (suggesting he is all of those things). I also don't believe it is the same as trying to make his policies into something they are not.

      Is it fair to criticize someone about certain points while still supporting them over the other candidate? I don't remember having to support anyone 100% of the time, and I don't believe it is fair to suggest that anything negative to Trump can be construed as anti-Trump rhetoric.

  7. Anonymous - Do I take it that you are a fan Donald Trump?

    You seem to be somewhat confused, in that Trump's various connections with the 'MLM' phenomenon are deeply worrying and completely at odds with your stated view of the 'MLM' phenomenon. For a start, his pal Carl Icahn, owns the largest block of effectively-valueless 'Herbalife' shares.

    Now what do you suppose Carl's unofficial White House advice to Donald about regulatory reform in respect of 'MLM' companies, is going to be?

    One doesn't need to be a citizen of the USA or a participant in the sordid intricacies of US political factions to observe the mental state and vulgar greed of Mr. Trump.

    Where on Earth do you get the idea that I am 'from a British Labourite background?' or that I am a 'leftish bigot.' I am conservative (with a small 'c') if anything, in that I have consistantly called for the re-establishment of the rule of law in respect of 'MLM' racketeering. I have also spent a great deal of my life in the world of commerce.

    I support no political faction and have never made any statement which could have even been construed as being in support of any political faction. I have merely quoted George Orwell on this Blog, who, in 1950, had to make it clear to the dim-witted US media that he was a supporter of the British Labour party.

    My opinion of Donald Trump as a tragicomic Narcissistic charlatan and would-be demagogue has nothing whatsoever to do politics, it is based on common-sense and the examination of history.

    Furthermore, contrary to what you pretend, I hold successive US administrations (Democrat and Republican) in contempt for allowing the cultic 'MLM' phenomenon to spawn in the USA and then spread around the globe, officially unrecognised and largely unchallenged. This spread was even assisted by the Clinton adminstration.

    Please do not come on this Blog again informing me that I do not possess the knowledge, or right, as a non-American to express my opinion of this shameful situation which has not only poisoned the de facto kleptocracy in which you inhabit, but the entire globe.

  8. Anonymous, I presume that you are unaware that when challenged by WSJ reporters during the election campaign, candidate Trump's quoted explanation of his previous (7 year long) glowing endorsement of the 'MLM' cultic racket known as 'ACN,' was that despite what he might have previously said, he hadn't really known what the company's business was and that he'd just been paid to give a few speeches to 'ACN distributors.'

    Now even to a non-American who doesn't know anything about American politics, given the actual words he spoke in the linked video (and in many other similar 'ACN/MLM' propaganda broadcasts) there can be only two logical explanations of Candidate Trump's feeble denial of reality:

    1. The great business genius, Donald Trump, immediately realised that 'ACN/MLM' is a scam and he should, therefore, be held to account for knowingly promoting a fraud in return for piles of stolen cash.

    2. When he was banking the piles of stolen cash in return for endorsement, Donald Trump sincerely believed 'ACN' to be an entirely lawful enterprise and, therefore, he's too stupid to be held to account.

  9. First off, let's get one thing clear. You can't tell me what blogs I may post on, or what I can or cannot say on them. That kind of supercilious arrogance may fly in the U.K. but it doesn't fly here. Got that, matey?

    Second, your response was a pure deflection from the points I raised. I pointed out why Donald Trump was the better candidate than Clinton, and I mentioned why Betsy De Vos, despite her background in Amway, was an excellent choice for Secretary of Education. As a professor in American academia for nearly half a century, I have a bit more experience on this latter question than you have.

    The issue in our last American election was the not the minor matter of the intricacies of the MLM fraud, but sheer survival. I knew very well when I entered the voting booth that Donald Trump and some of his friends were sympathetic to MLMs. But the larger and more crucial issue was rescuing the United States from the politically correct cesspool that our last Democratic president (a complete nitwit and left-wing ideologue) had plunged it. We wallowed in sewage for eight years with the execrable Obama.

    You call yourself a conservative with a small c., but you also claim to have no interest in politics and no desire to support any political faction. Frankly, that is no longer an option in the highly politicized world that we now inhabit. You either fight the left openly, or you go down into total defeat. In my own opinion you have already lost the battle in the U.K., which is at this point a bureaucratized Nanny State ruled by a viciously prejudicial Race Relations Act. The only sign of health in your nation was the Brexit vote, and already your courts and permanent bureaucracy are working feverishly to overturn it.

    You call Donald Trump "vulgar." Big deal. Both Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman were called that by their enemies. I don't care about a president's manners or style of deportment -- I only care that he protects American interests and keeps our enemies afraid of us. You call Donald Trump "greedy." Big deal. No one rises high into positions of authority and control without a certain savagery of instinct and acquisitiveness. Do you want a wilting flower to run your country? (Oh, I forgot -- you've got Theresa May).

    You claim that your dislike of Donald Trump has "nothing whatsoever" to do with politics. That may be what you honestly feel, but objectively it has EVERYTHING to do with politics. We in the Western world no longer have the leisure or leeway to like or dislike politicians on their manners, their habits, or their opinions concerning MLMs. There's a lot more at stake. The fact that the European establishment fears and loathes President Trump is a telltale sign of the man's fitness to lead the free world.

    I just didn't think that someone of David Brear's intelligence would be a part of the European establishment.

    1. 'First off, let's get one thing clear. You can't tell me what blogs I may post on, or what I can or cannot say on them. That kind of supercilious arrogance may fly in the U.K. but it doesn't fly here. Got that, matey?'

      Anonymous - Did you really write 'Matey?' Why is it that many Americans believe people from the UK to talk like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins?

      I think you will find if you take the trouble to read your previous post, that you will discover that what you now falsely accuse me of, is what you are actually guilty of yourself. For, in response, I politely requested that you simply stop taking this attitude and also stop ascribing imaginary hidden political motives to my analysis of Donald Trump as a classic narcissistic charlatan and would-be demagogue: not that you should vanish from these threads.

      Unfortunately, you have completely ignored my polite request and you are still seeking to ascibe imaginary hidden political motives to me as well as now seeking to falsely-portray me a being 'part of the European establishment'

      You would appear to be engaged in justifying your previous behaviour rather than examining the evidence.

      FYI, Donald Trump is not just acquainted with a few 'MLM' racketeers, he's actually tried to instigate a 'MLM' racket himself - 'Trump Network.'

      As a education professional with 50 years experience, I'd love to know what you think of Betsy DeVos' involvement with 'NeuroCore' a corporate front for a 'Dianetics'-style fraud instigated by a doctor who pretends to have invented an electronic 'brain-training' device which increases kids IQ and cures/relieves common-psychological problems?

  10. Anonymous FYI - Contrary to what you imagine, I am of the opinion that the UK should never have entered into the European Common Market under Edward Heath's Conservative administration in the 1970s. The reality of this ongoing charade, was perfectly summed up in this celebrated clip from the classic British comedy series, 'Yes Minister.'

    You might find, if you lighten up, that you and I have far more in common with one another's views than you currently believe.

    1. Thank you so much, both of you, for your astute stance on the MLM world of fraud. I have a great deal of respect for David Brear as an avid reader of his blog. We also, David, have had family deeply embedded in an Amway 'copycat' scheme. The average income per month for these people involved in this scam is $88.00 with the income of the top line of the company factored in. No amount of facts or common-sense arguments can move them from their prosperity gospel stance. Sometimes we tire from the battle for the truth in all this, especially when it means that we have morally had to distance ourselves from them. They are angry with us for asking them to do what is right, but we ache for the consequences that any act of fraud will bring them. Because somehow they are being led to believe they are 'helping people'. Love does not rejoice in wrong, but rejoices in the truth. The promises of 'financial freedom' these companies offer are bold-faced lies. We have faced opposition even from Christian friends who don't understand the fraudulent nature of these schemes, and their predatory nature. I hope it's ok to say I love both of you, Anonymous, for your political statements so far, and David, for your no-nonsense style of calling MLM what it is, and educating me this last 3 or 4 years You're both 'fighting the good fight', and here's a hug for all you are doing for what's right in this world. Gods Word says not to be weary in well-doing, but it does get discouraging at times. Thank you both again, and also the author of this blog. A small army we are, but pray that God will use our feeble efforts to 'save some' from wandering into 'Never-neverland'!

    2. JEM - Please feel free to contact by e-mail.

  11. I previously forgot to mention that Betsy DeVos and her husband are known to have pumped at least $25 millions into backing the comic-book 'educational/medical' scam known as 'Neurocore.'

    I also posted the wrong video link.

    During the last week, hundreds of visits have been made to a page on my Blog where I reposted some recent US press articles on Betsy DeVos and 'Neurocore.'

  12. You didn't want Britain in the Common Market? Excellent. I'm very glad to hear it. Heath was a stupid "wet" (as Maggie Thatcher would have said), and his role in entangling your country with the CM was disgraceful. I hope that you also voted for Brexit.

    I too am certain we have many viewpoints in common, and I have no vested interest in a continuing wrangle with you. The crux of our disagreement is on the relative weight of the MLM fraud as opposed to the dire situation of the West's decline into political correctness, leftist social control, and unchecked immigration. As long as Donald Trump fights against those horrors, I'll support and defend him, regardless of his connection with MLMs. Amway is small potatoes compared with the looming specter of civilizational collapse.

    As for Betsy De Vos, her link to Amway (a family connection) and her momentary enthusiasm for some silly educational plan are both insignificant in the light of a much bigger and more important reality -- the reality of how she will work to curb the totalitarian power of our godawful teachers' unions, and how she will begin to dismantle some of the more intolerable structures that those same unions have put in place to maintain their monopolistic power over schooling in the United States. Education in this country is in a state of collapse in the K-12 sequence, and college-level instruction is now almost totally in the hands of leftist ideologues, crackpot feminists, jargon-spouting theorists, and affirmative-action nonentities. SOMETHING has to be done! If it takes a Betsy De Vos to do it, that's fine with me. I know for a fact that nothing at all will be done if we work in approved and established channels.

    This is what lies behind the Trump revolution, and the incipient populist-right-wing revolutions that are brewing in France, Germany, Greece, and even in the brain-dead Scandinavian countries. THE APPROVED AND ESTABLISHED CHANNELS NO LONGER WORK. Elites are no longer responsive to the demands of anyone except noisy minorities and non-European refugees. In fact, elites are utterly contemptuous of ordinary people. They are exactly like the French aristocracy immediately before the French revolution. And quite frankly, elites should be thankful for the coming of Donald Trump, because Trump will be a buffer between them and much more intensely radicalized types like me. If I and my friends had our way, we'd be sharpening the guillotine right now.

    David Brear, I'm glad that you are not part of the elitist European establishment, and I'm sorry for suggesting it. I also hereby apologize for calling you "matey." Put it down to my brash Noo Yawk vulgarity. Or better yet, take it as a friendly bit of chaffing, and nothing more.

    1. Anonymous - Your apology is accepted.

      The History of Britain and the European project, probaly begins with Winston Churchill's apparently positive, but ambiguous, statements in the late 1940s.

      You are perhaps not aware that Margaret Thatcher (who was heavily influenced by Tory MP, Sir Keith Joseph) was one of the most passionate supporters of Britain's entry into the Common Market?

      Contrary to what is commonly believed, at the time, pro-European British politicians, and academics, never hid the fact that the ultimate goal of the European project was full-political and economic union.

      Only much later, Maggie began to realize that the leading anti-marketeers (like Enoch Powell and Michael Foot) who had argued on purely constitutional grounds, had been spot on, because her own government's reforms could be overturned by European legislation. That realization transformed Maggie into a Euro-skeptic - producing her political downfall.

  13. Enoch Powell was prescient about the horrors of mass, uncontrolled immigration. A brilliant classical scholar (he took a double first in Classics from Cambridge, won several prestigious awards, and did major work on Thucydides and Herodotus), Powell became a full professor at the age of twenty-five.

    Yes, he was the prime Euroskeptic, as well as a Parliamentarian of long standing. If his advice had been followed, Britain would not be in the dire straits that she finds herself in now.

    Maggie was a smart, tough lady. But if only she had had the foresight to listen to Powell and Foot! The damned Tory "wets" (with their slavish devotion to Europe) would never have been able to dislodge her.

  14. Enoch Powell was also an Army intelligence officer during WWII. His most noted job was to assess intercepted communications, and previous behaviour and published works, in order to predict the tactical decisions of Field Marshall Rommel in the N. African desert campaign. He served in India and he was a passionate fan of the sub-continent and its many different cultures.

    Powell remains a divisive figure in Britain, but he is widely misunderstood.

    This lecture (linked below) is a very fair, and accurate, portrait/assessment of Enoch Powell's unique political career.

    Perhaps you've already watched this lecture Anonymous?