We Need to Do Something

2018 was a wild year, as in we were introduced to a multitude of ideas that were hard to even grasp. “People actually think this?” was, undoubtedly, a common thought every time I heard about something else that popped up. Yes, I’m talking about anti-vaxxers, flat-earthers (even now it’s hard to tell who is joking and who is not about this), and, most importantly, MLMS.

Multi-Level Marketing schemes, Pyramid schemes, Ponzi schemes, it’s all the same right now. The FTC (the Federal Trade Commission) recently released a chart comparing the income rates of MLMs to other options.

MLMs have an income rate of 0.4%.

Just let that sink in. If you were to go to Caesar’s Palace and play roulette, you’d have a higher chance of earning money than working for an MLM. 99.6% of all people who worked for an MLM lost money.

Why is this being brushed off? Yeah, it’s kinda funny how angry the ‘hun bots’ (which is what people have come to call people who spam their Facebook friends with ads for an MLM, if you didn’t know) get angry if you decline them or something, but MLMs are a big problem.

There are tons of people who are in debt currently because of these business models, there are plenty of interviews where someone says how they lost an absurd amount of money in a short amount of time. These companies target people who are insecure financially and mentally. For example, CutCo is known for targeting financially insecure college students, and MANY of the current MLMs are known for targeting middle aged woman who want to be independent.

One other thing, these companies can even be described as cults. Cults! Steven Hassan of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center created this handy dandy little thing called the BITE Model. It’s used to know how much of a cult a group is, and how much they’re controlling their member’s minds.

The BITE Model of Cult Mind Control is split in four sections, Behavior Control, Information Control, Thought Control, and Emotional Control. To show how bad these companies really are, I’ll go through the a few bits of the first section–Behavior Control (The ‘B’ in BITE).

Dictate where, how, and with whom the member lives and associates or isolates,” check! There are quite a few MLMs who have told their members to ‘get new friends’ if their current ones don’t support or buy from their company.

“Control types of clothing and hairstyles,” and “Regulate diet – food and drink, hunger and/or fasting,” check! LulaRoe is known for making their members only wear their clothing, makeup MLMs tend to punish their members for talking about (and wearing!) other makeup companies, and supplement MLMs make sure their members use (promoting it as “if you want to be apart of this, it has to be your entire lifestyle”) and actively promote their products.

“Instill dependency and obedience,” check! Members of MLMs often learn that to succeed, they have to rely on their ‘upline’ (the person above them). A lot of MLMs require that members send constant reports to their uplines.

Finally, “Financial exploitation, manipulation or dependence.” I don’t even have to comment on this. It’s not a secret.

You can read the full list and decide for yourself, but I’ll tell you now– the relationship is uncanny.

This is a big problem currently, and we shouldn’t just brush it off. This even relates to us as high schoolers! CutCo targets high schoolers and college students, and it’s easy to get sucked into them.

These companies are predatory, cult-like, and cause people to go into wild amounts of debt. Why aren’t we doing more against them?