In many ways, Amway Global is a microcosm of the winner-take-all society that the American right has been working hard to create over the past thirty years. As this blog as pointed out numerous times, the Amway business model (i.e., the multi-level marketing model) is one in which the lucky ones who have sales and marketing skills and who got in on the ground floor have become extraordinarily wealthy. Americans who join Amway now have an infinitesimally small chance of joining the upper middle class through joining Amway; the idea of being wealthy: forget about it.
Amway Global is a classic hierarchy of misery. What separates Amway Global from other MLM companies is that it has a double whammy for new recruits: the tools scam, thepyramid scheme within the larger pyramid scheme. While with most other MLM companies, a person’s upline doesn’t make serious money unless the recruit makes money through sales or recruiting a downline. With the tools scam, Amway kingpins are able to make money off of a recruit whether or not he/she makes any money in the business. Essentially, the recruit is pressured to buy tools (motivational tapes, videos, and tickets to motivational rallies) through his/her upline and the money goes to the upline. Usually, the recruit gives up after a year or two (the attrition rate in Amway is very high) but the tools money is pure profit for the Amway upline (Amway’s parent company doesn’t get a cut). Thus, it’s not surprising that many of the high-level Amway distributors make most of their money from their tools businesses and not from Amway (this fact give lie to the oft-repeated statement given at rallies that Amway is the best business opportunity in the world).
These Amway recruits, these largely Republican aspiring entrepreneurs, are left high and dry. This is one way that Amway takes a blow against the American middle class. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Amway wages war against members of the American middle class—most of whom wouldn’t be taken in by the Amway recruiters’ song and dance. These are members of labor unions who aretargeted by Amway’s Dick DeVos’ political organization with recent right-to-work law passed in Michigan. It’s bad enough that Amway makes billions off of the misery of its misguided recruits but then uses the ill-gotten profits to lower the living standards of other Americans.