Why MLM Is Invisible, Part 1: False Language

Normally, a social or economic phenomenon, in which as many as 15 million American households participate year after year and which involves intrusive and sometimes disruptive personal and social interactions in addition to potentially thousands of dollars of lost investments, would be extensively studied. It would be regularly reflected in the news, as a subject or at least as a backdrop in books, plays, novels, and movies.
Yet, strangely, multi-level marketing remains unstudied by our universities, and gets only the barest of mention in the media. From a media, news and arts perspective it seemingly does not exist. Only in comedy, and even then on rare occasion, do the realities of MLM appear in the media.
As this analysis will show, it is not only that the
daily experience of MLM is absent from the media and arts but the truth of MLM itself is missing. MLM exists in our society as a myth, or as the author, Charles Mackay, would call it “an extraordinary popular delusion.”
MLM’s absence in public forums or art and the media indicates something far greater and different from neglect or absence. It indicates denial, disinformation, cover-up and suppression.


Deception and Delusion: How Pyramid Schemes Maintain the "Direct Selling" Disguise

According to the MLM companies, Herbalife, Nu Skin and Amway, and others, the great majority of people who sign sales contracts, join as “salespeople”and buy sales kits have absolutely no interest in being salespeople or in making any money at all in those enterprises. Why did they join and pay the fees and sign the contracts? Merely to buy the product at a discount, the companies say. They made hundreds or even thousands of dollars in purchases only because they loved those products, not because of reward incentives, quotas and qualifying for rewards. So, those consumers who ended up making no profit really did not “lose” money because they were never trying to make money in the first place.
Of course this story is not real or true.
There is another explanation. It is based both on corporate deception and consumer self-deception or perhaps delusion.