Monday 10 April 2023

Robert FitzPatrick proposes an 'Anti-MLM Declaration.'

Years ago, as part of an attempt to rescue members of my family from the clutches of the 'Amway' racketeers, I wrote to various individuals in the UK: including trade regulators, law enforcement agents, legislators, journalists, editors, etc. However, I got absolutely no serious response to my urgent concerns. What I said at that time, is in broad agreement with Robert FitzPatrick's new proposal for an 'Anti-MLM Declaration.' 

The following is part of what I originally-wrote in 1999 when there was no Anti-'MLM' Movement in sight:

What has become popularly-known as, 'Multi-Level Marketing,' has been neither multi-Level nor marketing. On the contrary, it has been a reality-inverting, self-perpetuating, cultic racket in which victims have been exposed (without their fully-informed consent) to long-established, co-ordinated, devious techniques of persuasion (social, psychological and physical) designed to shut-down their critical, and evaluative, faculties. In this way, millions of our fellow citizens (including members of my family in Yorkshire) have been temporarily dissociated from external reality and deceived into buying infinite shares of what can only be their own finite money; all in the false-expectation of a demonstrably-non-existent future reward. In exchange for their unlawful losing investment payments (which have been laundered as 'lawful retail sales'), 'MLM' victims have been given exorbitantly-priced (effectively unsaleable) goods/services. Whilst they have remained under the contol of the pernicious 'MLM' fiction, victims have been deluded de facto slaves dissipating their own physical, financial, social, family and mental resources in an attempt to lure others into the same blame-the-victim cultic trap. It remains unclear how much damage this historically-significant, but still unrecognised, criminogenic phenomenon has done, and is doing, to the UK economy, not to the mention the social, and psychological, damage it has done, and is doing, to our fellow citizens.

David Brear (copyright 1999)


International Association to Expose, Study and Prevent Pyramid Schemes
Website    Donate   News   About   Pyramid Schemes   Resources 
April, 2023
From: Robert L. FitzPatrick

Dear PONZINOMICS Readers, Colleagues and Friends,

Saying It Loud

"ANTI-MLM" is now a bona fide, large-scale consumer movement reaching millions around the world. More than a "consumer" movement, ANTI-MLM is, first, a movement for Truth over Big Lie.

Movement status was achieved only within the last 5 years or so, after decades of being denied, discredited or ignored.

In this early stage, ANTI-MLM has no office, spokesperson, or treasury. These may come. It does have volunteers, activists, academics, attorneys, researchers, podcasters, collegial networks, Reddit subgroups, and international conferences. Victim silence and shame are breaking down. ANTI-MLM is now respected and recognized by the media. ANTI-MLM is growing.

ANTI-MLM has profound grievances against MLM – billions in consumer losses, millions of damaged lives, disrupted families, pseudo-economics distorting work values, false feminism to exploit women, deceptive income claims raising false hopes, quack health remedies, cult coercion, corruption of regulators, and pyramid scheme fraud on a global scale.

Yet, beyond grievances, ANTI-MLM is still formulating what it stands for. ANTI-MLM does not have a common definition or even description of MLM, and therefore does not have a unified position on what to do about MLM.

Is MLM just a bad "business" or is it racketeering? Is it a real "industry" with a competitive market and a trade association or just a Ponzi scam using lawyers and lobbyists to disguise and protect it? Is MLM a form of direct selling that just needs more "retail" or is it a calculated pyramid scheme that cannot be reformed? Are regulatory "rules" needed or a ban on "endless chain" financial schemes? As penalties for MLM CEOs and vanguard recruiters – fines and reprimands or jail time? Is the appropriate law enforcement agency the FTC that regulates trade or the FBI that prosecutes frauds?

PONZINOMICS is the first book to dissect and fully describe MLM, how it began, the "direct selling" disguise, pyramid scheme model, the lobbying and evasion of law, and its cultic character and methods. It's an ANTI-MLM textbook. Other books from new authors are coming soon, as well as new documentaries, podcasts and websites.

The facts of MLM are known. Irrefutable evidence keeps mounting of MLM's perverse identity and the gigantic scale of its harm. But Anti-MLM has not yet made its own, unifying "Declaration" of what MLM is, and what needs to be done about it.

To advance the movement and support informed dialogue, I offer a "Declaration" for ANTI-MLM (edited for brevity)

#1: MLM Is Not “Business”; MLM Is Not “Direct Selling”
MLM contracts are never voluntary. Necessary information is always withheld. A fair exchange of value does not occur. The MLM financial proposition is inherently deceptive and harmful. Sustained, profitable retailing – direct selling – is non-existent and impossible under "MLM."

#2: The Use of Business Terminology for MLMs Is Inappropriate and Misleading
Using conventional business terms is misleading, inaccurate, and reinforces MLM's "business" disguise. “Sales, distributor, profit, direct selling, compensation, bonus," etc., do not apply in describing endless chain/money transfer scams. "Manager, Executive, Coach, and Director," etc., misleadingly indicate managerial or decision-making roles in a real business, when they refer only to levels of pyramid recruiting.

#3: MLMs Are Essentially Identical; MLM Product-Transactions Launder Money-Transfers and Disguise MLM as Direct Selling
MLMs are distinct, recognizable, essentially identical. All exhibit an endless-chain structure, payment and recruiting mandates, and extreme money-transfers from later to earlier participants. All produce the same devastating loss rates. MLM product-transactions at fixed pricing are not market-based, not driven by consumer demand, but are induced costs for securing recruiting-chain positions and transferring money from later to earlier recruits.

#4: Multi-Level Marketing Is a Destructive Cult
To enroll, gain money from, control, and silence victims, MLMs use undue influence and coercive control, resulting in financial loss, damaged relationships and psychological harm. They lure victims with utopian false promises and claims of mystifying knowledge for gaining financial success and fulfillment. Recruits are indoctrinated to accept the "infinite" endless-chain as a financial model, that "belief" shapes reality, to shun family and friends who question MLM, to reject critical thinking, and to unquestioningly believe and strictly obey MLM leaders – while paying fees, purchasing products and recruiting.

#5: US Law Enforcement Policy toward Multi-Level Marketing Is Unfounded; Perpetuates Harm; Must Be Changed.
Evidence does not support US law enforcement's presumption of MLM legitimacy and neglect of investigation and prosecution. Decades of evidence irrefutably show:

  • Absence of profitable and sustainable retail selling – invalidating the MLM identity of "direct selling" and revealing a closed, rigged financial scam.

  • Annual loss rates among MLM participants in excess of 99% – invalidating MLM claims of "income opportunity" and revealing enormous harm to millions each year.

  • Pervasive and deliberate falsehoods regarding “direct selling” identity, costs, health claims, failure rates, business opportunity, and recruiting requirements – revealing systematic deception and intentional harm.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) should:
  • end the current policy of neglect and presumption of MLM "legitimacy"
  • initiate investigations of MLM structure, methods and consequences
  • refer findings to the US Dept. of Justice.

No comments:

Post a Comment