[permaculture] Thanks to Permaworld

John Schinnerer eco_living at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 11 05:20:22 EDT 2002


I'm truly glad to hear of the money you've received and the additional
good work it will enable you to do.  I wish I could wave a magic wand
so you could get it somewhere else.

For those not familiar with so-called MLM/netowrk marketing (pyramid or
'downline') schemes such as Permaworld, CellTech, Melaleuca, Amway,
etc. ad nauseum...

Firstly, as a practical matter I suggest not getting dependent on them
for funding.  When the pyramids start to break down and/or crash, the
money will vanish as quickly as it appeared.

More importantly in a PC context, the underlying model is based on
endless growth.  One only makes significant money by recruiting people
to propagate the scheme yet further to increase one's downline, not by
merely selling any of the "products" or "services" the scheme
incorporates.  That is, one makes significant money *only* by taking a
percentage of the efforts/income of others one recruits to one's

This should be obvious, with a bit of protracted and thoughtful
observation (but is usually de-emphasized and carefully couched in any
particular scheme's literature).  How else would one be able to make
several thousands of dollars a month and more merely by part-time
selling of household products or vitamins and supplements or
telecommunications services or (the latest MLM fad - P.T. Barnum was
right) electronic documents and marketing 'systems' to friends and
family?  Not bloody likely...  

The most "successful" practitioners do little or no actual selling of
"goods" or "services" themselves; they focus on recriting of other
sellers beneath them in the pyramid scheme to boost their

People addicted to working these schemes often destroy family,
friendship and colleage/co-worker relations left and right, as they
recruit more and more aggressively (and annoyingly) amongst their
various relationship networks.  That's their choice, of course.

I see the "Perma" in permaworld is directly linked to Permaculture in
the 'about us' section of the site:

Permaworld's goals are similar to and aligned with the goals and tenets
of Permaculture

 Care of the Earth
 Care of People
 Sharing of resources to help others achieve their needs.

Our Motto
People helping people care for OUR Planet!"

I disagree completely. That is, I don't think the ends justify the
means, nor do I think PC supports the ends justifying the means.  If
Mollison is serious about defending his 'baby' from defamation and
exploitation via legal means, this would be a good situation in which
to do so.  I support such action by him or others, and I myself will
refute the claimed alignment of MLM schemes such as Permaworld with PC
whenever opportunity arises.

It is not the products themselves that matter in pyramid schemes; it is
the unsustainable and consciously exploitative nature of the systems
employed in realizing them.  

In some cases both are rotten; the "initial product" of Permaworld is a
pre-packaged computerized "marketing system" in which one basically
buys (or sells) access to 'contact list' harvesting mechanisms and
automated spamming tools. 

I am curious to hear if others think this is a good product (pyramid
scheme through which it is sold aside) with which to support PC
intentions and work.  Obviously, I do not.

This is not to say pyramid schemes don't "work" as advertised
financially for some percentage of those who choose to employ them -
they certainly do, and I have been acquainted with at least one person
getting $5000+ a month from others' efforts via a major international
MLM, and a couple others in the $2000~$3000 a month range. 

Just say no to the degradation of PC principles and ethics via pyramid
marketing fundraising.
Caveat pyramid Emptor.

John S.

John Schinnerer, MA
- Eco-Living -
Cultural & Ecological Designing
Food - Water - Shelter - Community - Technology
john at eco-living.net

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