We took photographs of one another inside our dreams: Here I am, a skinny nine-year-old posing proudly next to a kidney-shaped pool. Here’s my mother in a pair of khaki shorts and a Hawaiian shirt descending a marble staircase. And my father, two thumbs up, lying on a king-sized canopy bed. We visualized, yes – but then we went one step further and made visual. We stepped inside our dreams, literally.

Well that's all fine and dandy but I am not lazy, I like talking to people. But I am not going to persuade people to get into a so called business when in al actuality this is like a Sam's Club membership except everyone you get to join, you get a piece of their profits and any profits of their offsprings and so forth and so on. I can do that, but not full time. It's not something I enjoy. You have to have passion for that and I don't have that type of passion for selling Sam's Club memberships to folks. I am a nurse and that's my passion No this is not a scam. Just say no it's not for you and move on. No need to bash the company.


From time to time the absurdities and contradictions of The Business would surface in Josh’s conversation. In one of his many unguarded moments, he voiced a preference for Amway Scrub Rite because it ran out more quickly than the “superconcentrated” Amway cleaners, enabling him to buy it more often. Catching himself, he quickly added, “Of course, it still lasts a long time.” This puzzled me. Why was Josh so eager to shovel money at Amway? The rational thing would be to minimize his own purchases while strong-arming his downlines into buying as much as possible. But, of course, if everyone did that, the whole business would evaporate. This is Amway’s central dilemma.

The club recently underwent a $1 million renovation: new roof, redecorated dining hall and casual-attire bar and grille, revamped golf shop, locker rooms, fitness center, renovated driving range and greens. It closed for an extended period of time over the summer so that they could replace the greens and restore them to their original Tom Fazio PGA Tour–quality design. They use only Champion Dwarf Bermudagrass because, as the turf farm’s website says, ‘even among the ultradwarf cultivars, there is no other grass capable of producing the incredible ball roll of a well-maintained Champion green.’
As her world shrunk, she immersed herself in World Wide culture. For entertainment, she listened to the motivational tapes, laughing and crying at the tales of hardship and triumph. She read the WWDB recommended books, memorizing snippets of Norman Vincent Peale and Psychocybernetics. She urged me, likewise, to move to the “next level”: to hook into Amvox voicemail (where I could listen to messages from my distant upline Greg Duncan courtside at Bulls-Magic games[15]); make plane and hotel reservations for the upcoming Family Reunion; and get on “standing order” to automatically receive six World Wide cassettes a month at six bucks a pop—which Josh claimed simply covered costs—presumably of meetings recorded onto very cheap tapes. (“I’d gladly pay more for them,” Josh insisted, “because they’re helping me to become financially liberated!”) Sherri told me, in hushed tones, that “Greg Duncan judges you more on the number of standing orders in your downline than on your PV!” I didn’t doubt it. The upper echelons of World-Wide and other groups rake in enormous profits from their speaking engagements and the sale of motivational materials. Dexter Yager, head of the Yager Group, is reputed to make more from his propaganda syndicate than from his actual Amway business.
Remember Income is not profit.  Even if a business consultant earned 21,048 in commission for 2013, this figure does not include the cost of being an Amway member.  Remaining active is not cheap. Our own analysis of the numbers estimated that after expenses the average Amway IBO lost $1,176 per year.  Our calculations used data from Amway USA from 2010
What this simple example tells us is that it is difficult to keep appointing more and more distributors. This is similar to a Ponzi scheme, where for the scheme to keep going more and more newer investors need to keep coming in, so that the older investors whose money is falling due can be paid off. The trouble of course is that that the number of people is not infinite, as the above example shows us.
‘It was very marshy. They rearranged the golf course because part of Bardmoor was in here, so they restructured it,’ she says, referring to the adjacent gated community. ‘Bayou Club is divided into two cities: Pinellas Park and Seminole. When you first drive into the community, while you’re technically still in Pinellas Park, you wouldn’t know it. Pinellas Park is low-income – we call this section an oasis in the middle of Pinellas Park.’
‘It was very marshy. They rearranged the golf course because part of Bardmoor was in here, so they restructured it,’ she says, referring to the adjacent gated community. ‘Bayou Club is divided into two cities: Pinellas Park and Seminole. When you first drive into the community, while you’re technically still in Pinellas Park, you wouldn’t know it. Pinellas Park is low-income – we call this section an oasis in the middle of Pinellas Park.’
I was surprised at the breadth and depth of their product selections. I had always thought of Amway as just having cleaning products. However, that only scratches the surface. Their cleaning products, such as SA-8, are second to none. Very superior products. We also purchased jewelry. They have a very large collection of original, beautiful designs. I also found Amway's customer service to be extremely customer oriented. But Amway still has a stigma associated with them dating back to the 60s and 70s. That stigma was one of distributors being forced to purchase garages full of products in order to be able to qualify as a direct distributor. However the products themselves have always been thought to be superior. If I could change anything about Amway it would be to improve the perception of the distributing organization, not the manufacturer.
Such a model can be represented as a binary tree with each node representing a person and the 2 children nodes under it representing the referred friends. It is also called “Pyramid scheme”. As you would have realized or the organizers might have suggested, in order to just recover the money that you have spent for membership, you need to have atleast 3-4 levels under you and only the levels beyond that will start fetching you some passive income as and when new members join. Just recollect the formula for number of nodes at the “n”th level of a binary tree. It is 2^n (2 power n). We shall use this formula in the following analysis.
Sales pitch though it was, E2020 subscribed to a worldview that’s now ubiquitous in the wider culture. Its central metaphor was overheatedly Darwinian—the global economy as nature run riot, lush for the dominant, unforgiving for the slow to adapt—but also strikingly theological. In the next millennium, a resurgent Market would act as the vengeful (invisible) hand of God, laying waste to the Second Wave’s many Towers of Babel—government planning, welfare states, unions, warehouses, consolidated factories, even mega-conglomerates. Thus, “progress” required that we bury our arrogant bids for security and clear the ground for a new order of pure Nietzschean struggle.
The reform efforts seem to have paid off. Today Amway is portrayed as a model business. A spate of articles in newspapers around the country have crowned “multilevel distribution” the Third Wave of marketing: If it looks like Amway, we’re now told, then it’s not a scam. Trade magazines laud Amway as a high-quality manufacturer; the United Nations has given it a rare Environmental Award; Jay VanAndel, the recipient of a score of business awards, served a term as president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Ted Koppel has cited Rich DeVos as one of America’s premier philanthropists; Larry King blurbed DeVos’ book, Compassionate Capitalism, as “a credo for all people everywhere.” Even the Wall Street Journal, which delights in mild ridicule of Amway spectacles, never completely laughs off The Business. The paper is always careful to mention Amway’s billions in annual sales, the new class of professionals flocking to it, the FTC decision ruling it legal, and its remarkable global expansion—especially in Eastern Europe.

In September 2006, following a public complaint, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana state police (CID) initiated raids and seizures against Amway distributors in the state, and submitted a petition against them, claiming the company violated the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (banning) Act.[118] They shut down all corporate offices associated with the Amway organization including the offices of some Amway distributors. The enforcement said that the business model of the company is illegal.[11][119] The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had notified the police that Amway in India may be violating certain laws regarding a "money circulation scheme" and the IB Times article writes that "some say ... Amway is really more about making money from recruiting people to become distributors, as opposed to selling products".[11] In 2008, the state government of Andhra Pradesh enacted a ban on Amway media advertisements.[118]
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