Recommended podcast on multilevel marketing

The Dream by Stitcher.

Excellent look at how multilevel marketing companies succeed
at avoiding regulation and at convincing enough people to try them—and convincing
them that their subsequent failure is their own fault and not intrinsic to the
model—to make the people at the top a lot of money.  Both gender and the collapse of real economic
opportunity for many people in the U.S. play big roles—the American mythos of
success being a matter of wanting it enough, combined with women’s desire for
flexible work that will allow them to support their families in both economic
and noneconomic ways, makes MLMs seem like a plausible response to rather than a
symptom of toxic inequality.  There are
many striking moments, including the justifications that people in the “upline”
use to explain why it’s ok to take money from losers—I mean, from people who
lack sufficient motivation to succeed.  (Interestingly, the industry mouthpiece who
appears in the last episode does not push that line, contrary to all the
individual MLMs trying to recruit “sellers”—instead, he would prefer to
characterize most “sellers” as people who sign up because they like the product
and want a discount, even though he admits that almost all of them want to be
understood as sellers/businesspeople.) One woman with 150 people in her
“downline” makes (just) $42,000 a year—which raises the question of how much
money is going to the MLM, since that’s a small fraction of the money it takes
to buy enough product to get that kind of commission.  The podcast also spends a fair amount of time
on the FTC’s largely lost battle to regulate MLMs like Amway, and on
MLM-friendly proposed legislation that will define most MLMs as not pyramid
schemes no matter how large a percentage of their “sellers” lose money.

from Blogger

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