What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

MXI Corp and Multilevel Marketing: Pyramid Schemes By Any Other Name Would Smell Like Chocolate

August 5, 2014, 9:30 AM
Chocolate_mxi

What's the Latest?

If a friend or colleague (or your hairdresser) has ever tried to sell you products from Herbalife, Avon or Amway, that person has also likely tried to recruit you to become a distributor yourself. As Max Ehrenfreund explains in the Washington Post, that friend, colleague or hairdresser is currently operating within a multilevel marketing (MLM) business model.

In his article, Ehrenfreund tells the story of a New Mexico couple whose lives unraveled when they became distributors for MXI Corp., an MLM company that moves chocolate products, and bit off way more than they could chew.

What's the Big Idea?

Sad stories of broke MLM sellers are a dime a dozen, often telling of wide-eyed wannabe entrepreneurs who became consumed by their products and failed in their Sisyphian quest to turn a profit. Companies that employ multilevel marketing often rely on manipulative methods in order to recruit their sellers. These tactics contribute to accusations that the companies are pyramid schemes in disguise.

A traditional pyramid scheme involves people paying to join an organization and then getting kickbacks for every person they recruit. The business model is mathematically unsustainable and thus is illegal in the United States, among other countries. Allow Michael Scott to fully explain the concept:

Multilevel marketing companies such as MXI exhibit one notable wrinkle that makes them, in Ehrenfreund's words, ambiguous:

"Most of their customers are salespeople who also buy products for themselves... The industry's defenders point to these customers as evidence that the companies are filling a demand in the market. In surveys commissioned by the trade association, more than half of distributors identify discounts on products as a reason they joined the ranks of multilevel marketers."

Despite those claims, the number of success stories involving regular folks who became distributors are very, very few. You can chalk it up to "a fool and his money will soon part," but protections ought to be put in place to ensure those susceptible to the marketing pitch don't throw their lives away.

The next time a friend of yours tries to goad you into selling analeptic chocolates or legal insurance -- just run, don't walk.

Keep reading at Washington Post

Photo credit: gosphotodesign / Shutterstock

 

MXI Corp and Multilevel Mar...

Newsletter: Share: