[permaculture] Thanks to Permaworld

EFMonaco EFMonaco at compuserve.com
Thu Jul 11 13:15:36 EDT 2002

John Schinnerer,
Please try not to confuse pyramid schemes with MLM sales structures.
To do so is like condemming fire because somebody in Wisconsin 
gets burn happy.  There are pleanty of good products sold using MLM 
sales structures.  The comissions paid to sales people can be equitable
or can be foolish as you describe.  Your characterization is at the very
extreme end of the spectrum, for which most governments have made it 
illegal.  Look at any large sales orginazition, like IBM for example, and
you'll find sales executives who never touch the products, but rather spend

all day managing their sales forces via meetings, trainings, follow-up,
many of whom earn six-figure incomes.  You are correct that so-called
pyramid schemes (which are illegal in the USA) are unethical, but you
can not extend that to all MLM marketing structures.  In many cases, 
companies chose MLM structures because the sales force has to spend
a lot of time educating their clientelle.  They could just as easily have a

multi-level in-house sales organization like IBM, with area managers,
group managers, regional vice presidents, etc.  In many ways an MLM
structure allows less-well-financed products to have a shot in the market-
place, whereas otherwise they'd never have enough capital to get started.
Not every product manufacturer can afford to flood the airways with enough
advertising to make impressions on potential customers.  Word-of-mouth
and door-to-door sales is and always has been an effective and
method of promoting something new.  Those of us that study permaculture
should appreciate that.  MLM is just a sales structure or tool with no
Bash them all you want for their products or services, and bash them 
some more if you've found that theirs is an illegial pyramid scheme.
While I don't know anything about Permaworld and can't speak to its
ethics, merely having an MLM structure is not a cause for hanging.  
Gene Monaco

Message text written by INTERNET:permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org

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.

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