Pyramid sales

Question of the Day August 13, 2011 – “pyramid home sales parties”

Have you ever been invited to a ‘tupperware party’ (or other pyramid home sales party)
Did you go?
If not, did you decline gracefully or rant about pyramid home sales?

Lots of interesting ideas in this thread.

Yes I have gone to tupperware parties, and bought a few items that I wanted, and still use (decades later – good value for money). I evaluated, then declined the invitation to join their scheme, and explained to everyone present how it couldn’t possibly work except for a very few at the top of the pyramid.

Certainly most pyramid schemes exploit the ignorance of most people, and this exploitation is not restricted to pyramid schemes, but extends to most governments, most corporations, the banking system, the advertising industry, most religions and philosophical systems and many others in society.

Having been self employed for over 40 years, and having employed others for much of that time, I can attest to the hours it takes to keep a business running, and in terms of hourly rates of pay – I would probably be lucky to have made the minimum wage for the hours worked for most of that time (much less than the hourly rate of my employees). And when you’re working over 100 hours a week, the money adds up, even if the rate is low. (And when you’re working that much, there isn’t much opportunity to spend money.)

As to systems – I agree with Judi, that the economic system is set up, quite intentionally, to ensure that not everyone has jobs. It takes only a little consideration to prove this beyond any reasonable doubt.

Is there any real doubt that the political, economic, legal and religious systems are quite intentionally set up to perpetuate and to prey upon the ignorance of the masses?

There is plenty that needs doing, and plenty of people willing to work, yet huge amounts of resources are focussed on things like fashion.

We could choose to organise in a way that supports and empowers everyone into whatever they responsibly choose, yet we don’t do that.
Instead we allow laws and systems that create and extend monopolies and privilege, through lies and deceit at the very highest levels.

[followed by]

Hi Judi

It’s a sort of.
We would still be dependent on the land and it’s resources, and that dependence would be micro managed by a set of machines that are programmed to repair and maintain themselves, as well as produce a basic range of things for us from these natural systems.
Thus every individual could guarantee their own long term survival (food, shelter, communication, education, transportation) and empower their choices within that framework. The land area required is significant – approximately the land area of Australia to independently meet the survival needs of every individual now living (about 800m sq per person).

Anyone can still be exploited through ignorance – that will always be the case, as knowledge is infinite.

What it does do, is give people the option of simply saying – No, I am not going to participate in that system – I am going to do something else.

@ Andrew
Like you, I have been able to find work even in the worst of times, and I have done things that most people wouldn’t (like climbing inside septic tanks to clean them).

What I have seen of the political and legal systems over the last 40 years has convinced me that many people in the upper levels of these systems do understand what they are doing at various levels, and are aware that the laws and systems they create and maintain are designed to preserve power and privilege, and have little to do with empowering the average person in society. In 1983 I first got to the level of being on an advisory body with direct access to cabinet; and I used to sometimes stay at the home of the Minister of Finance after those meetings (spent 8 years on that particular body). At the same time I was involved in industry bodies, worker organisation, think tanks, and a loose association of anarchists.

Our education system is a case in point. NZ and Aus have very similar systems. My brother has lived in Tasmania for almost 40 years, and like all Kiwis I have a lot of Ausie contacts. I see our education system trying to force people into being interested in the same things.
Check out a little work by a bloke called John Gatto Taylor “Dumbing Us Down”. He is a USA writer, but his words are as relevant to our systems as they are to theirs. His basic thesis is that it only takes about 200 hours of programmed instruction to teach the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic; and beyond that, most people learn best by engaging in something they are interested in, and doing whatever is required to pursue that interest.
Our schools are far from safe places for our children. Bullying and worse are still rife, diversity is barely tolerated, and rarely encouraged at the individual level.
I spent 3 years on the Board of Trustees at our local High School here, 2 years as treasurer and 1 as Chairman. I maintained the computer networks for 6 years as a voluntary service, and got to know all the people on the ground (groundsmen, cleaners, maintenance people) as well as all the teachers and their projects. I worked for two years as a full time relief teacher at another high school, many years ago (maths and science). And I have been deeply involved in two major reviews of the education system in NZ, the first in the early 80s. So I have a bit of a “feel” for how the system works.
There are some great people in the system, and those kids fortunate enough to work with those great folks get a great education. Unfortunately, the majority of folks in the system are there to get enough money to survive, rather than their being committed to individual children exploring their own infinite potential in their own ways.

There are many subtle ways to create barriers to entry. “User Pays” and “cost recovery” are some of the most heavily disguised. Existing users tend to demand that all new entrants pay the same costs that they have to. This makes it almost impossible for new entrants to get started. Larger players use the same principle to put additional pressure on smaller competitors. It becomes in the interest of large players to increase the size and cost of the bureaucracy to the maximum level they can sustain, thus forcing their smaller competitors out of business, and increasing the size of the “monopoly rents” that can be extracted. Once they have an effective monopoly, they then turn their attention to dismantling the bureaucracies that they have used to the minimum level required to sustain their monopolies. These patterns seem to have about a 30 year cycle time (from my personal qualitative observations).

In terms of intention, the systems have been set up to allow capitalists to extract as much money as possible. The last few decades of deregulation of the monetary system have encouraged people to focus on novel ways to use the money system to create new money. This is at variance with the need of people for goods and services. Most people do not have a clear distinction between the availability of goods and services and the money they use to buy those goods and services.
The stock and bond and futures and ForEx markets do very little that is positive in producing goods and services. Mostly they serve only to create more money. So long as people keep playing this money game with their money, it isn’t a problem. However, when they start to look outside, and buy real goods and services with this “fake” money, the entire system is destabilised.
Money is not a measure of real value.
People can make a lot of money by destroying productive capacity – either physically, or mentally (by creating addictive games).

Our whole system is a very complex mix of a great many different systems, different roles and purposes; and in one sense it is not centrally controlled, it evolves, certainly.
However, in another sense, there is definitely a sense in which people sustain particular patterns in this system through deliberate misinformation (at many different levels). It is those engaged in this deliberate misinformation game that are the target of my disgust, which includes many of those at the top of the corporate, legal, military, education, political and religious institutions (as well as many of the mega capitalists).

Enough for one day!

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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2 Responses to Pyramid sales

  1. holessence says:

    The title, alone, raised the hackles on the back of my neck. I am sooooo not a pyramid scheme kinda gal!


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