Money and Philosophy and Movies -- who is really to blame in MLMs
Here are two good movies about the things people would do for money -- including making a more or less dishonest buck:
The difference between the two movies?
In the first, back-to-the-wall generally honest real-estate agents will do anything to sell real estate, including getting good "leads" by more or less dishonest means. But their inter-office fights and hard-sale techniques, after all, result (at most) at a client getting real estate he doesn't really want at a price he doesn't really want to pay. In the second, a group of scammers deliberately inflate stock prices, unload it on unsuspecting people in a pump-and-dump scheme, and care not one bit about their "investors"' ruined lives.
We all met Glengarry Glen Ross like people in real life -- perhaps we are them in real life -- and it wasn't the end of the world. But touch the scammers from Boiler Room with a ten-foot pole and you're dead. The difference is that the Glengarry Glen Ross real-estate agents do it to survive and keep their job; those in Boiler Room do it to make as much money as they can. Aristotle's dictum holds true: 'The worst offences are made by those driven by greed, not by those driven by necessity'.
What does this have to do with MLMs? It illustrates the moral difference between those lower on the MLM pyramid and those at the top. The folks on the bottom do it under the delusional view that it's a small business. We already discovered why this is false, but still, at least their goal is to make some money because they need it. They might lie to you about the earning potential or how great it is to be in Amway (or whatever company), but they won't do serious wrong -- yet.
Those at the top, on the other hand, are different. They are sharks who are driven, not by necessity, but by greed. Many MLM "heads" are nothing more than professional scammers, setting up one MLM after another -- with themselves at the top, of course -- in order to squeeze as much money as possible from the gullible before moving on to the next MLM. They care nothing at all for their downline, let alone the MLM's (non-existent) customers.
So one of the risks of joining an MLM is not that you will fail, but that you will succeed: that you will become one of those at the top, and, for money, move from being someone who does a little wrong out of necessity to someone who does a lot of wrong, voluntarily, out of greed. For what will it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36).
On the other hand, perhaps you shouldn't worry. Chances of becoming one of the "top" when starting at the "bottom" at an MLM are 0.01% or so in the best case scenario, and de facto 0% in most case.