In July 1996, Amway co-founder Richard DeVos was honored at a $3 million fundraiser for the Republican Party, and a week later, it was reported that Amway had tried to donate $1.3 million to pay for Republican "infomercials" and televising of the GOP convention on Pat Robertson's Family Channel, but backed off when Democrats criticized the donation as a ploy to avoid campaign-finance restrictions.
It is rare to see poverty mentioned in Amway’s literature. When it is, it’s usually in the context of an Amway distributor having escaped it. Success is equated with wealth. With wealth is promised an enhanced way of life, one crafted of your own dreams – and Amway gives you The Plan to achieve that life. To let your attention stray from The Plan is to invite doubt and negative thinking, which can only result in failure. ‘As successful distributors tell people they are recruiting, the pursuit of excellence can be achieved only when they discipline themselves to tune in the positive dialogues and tune out the negative ones,’ says Cross. Poverty makes us feel bad. Feeling bad is negative. Negativity causes failure. It makes poverty feel contagious. So don’t think about it.
Similar to previous years, the Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report features the Amway Entrepreneurial Spirit Index (AESI). Introduced in 2015, the AESI measures three dimensions that influence a person’s intention to start a business: desire, feasibility and stability against social pressure. The average for all countries slightly declined from 50 to 47. In the U.S., AESI score was 54, similar to recent years (2016: 56 and 2015: 53). Additionally:
The compensation plan is called a “stairstep breakaway,” which requires the business rep to effectively rebuild a leg once it has reached what’s called Platinum status (7500 points). Basically, legs break off once they qualify and the commissions turn into 4% royalties instead of commissioned payouts of ~30%. I asked a former Amway emerald once what it was like having his first leg break-off and his reply was: “it’s awful, you really know how to ask painful questions don’t you.” He went on to explain his commissions dropped by at least 80% when they turned into “royalties.” It should be noted that the royalties technically disappear if the volume in the leg drops below 7500 points, so it’s not really a “permanent” royalty unless you maintain your volume. It is in essence a “punishing” compensation plan that forces you to rebuild a leg once it reaches this trigger volume, effectively causing you to “not” want others to pass you up.
‘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.’
Amway stresses that the main difference between a legitimate MLM business model and a pyramid scheme is that a legitimate MLM is focused on selling products, not recruiting more salespeople. In a legitimate MLM, it should be possible to make money by simply selling products directly to customers. With that main criterion in mind, here are some other ways to identify product-based pyramid schemes:
I loved the days when we’d go to the Bayou Club as a family. We began going immediately after joining Amway, when I was in second grade. The development was new, still under construction. There was space between the houses and the far stretch of the golf course undulating luxuriously around them. Model homes rose from the landscape like castles, bigger than any houses I’d ever seen – and vacant. Never occupied. Empty dreams, waiting to be filled.
Imagine that you’ve struck a deal with a company to give you discounts for buying in bulk: If you buy $100 worth of stuff, they’ll send you a 3 percent rebate. For $300 or more, it goes up to 6 percent, $600 or more, 9 percent, and so on up to $7,500 and 25 percent. Now, let’s say you’re unable to spend more than $100 a month, but manage to get seventy-four other people to go in with you. Together, you spend $7,500 and divide up the 25 percent rebate. Everyone saves money, and the rebate is shared equally. That’s the idea behind a consumer co-op or wholesale buying club.