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); 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.
The company is said to have been violating the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act. More specifically, Pinckney and the two other directors were arrested in connection with a case filed by a certain Visalakshi of Kozhikode. She claimed to have incurred losses of Rs 3 lakh in trying to sell the products of Amway through its multi-level marketing network.
Before we get into a detailed discussion on whether Amway is a Ponzi scheme or not, it is important to understand how Amway and other multi-level marketing(MLM) companies go about their business. An MLM company like Amway appoints independent distributors to sell its products. Amway sells products like diet supplements, toothpastes, shampoos, multi-purpose liquid cleaners, soaps, grooming products etc. These distributors are not employees of the company. They make money by selling Amway products.
Even so, among the DeVoses’ skeptics, there are those who strike a hopeful, if cautious, tone. “I think Mrs. DeVos could potentially be a really good secretary of education if she allowed parents and school districts to make policy at the local level,” says Daniel Quinn, executive director of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, a nonprofit that receives a portion of its funding from the National Education Association. “But at the same time, I’m concerned.”