The era of Confucius values dominated socialism is over in China since 1978’s economic reformation and with the introduction of Multi Level Marketing(MLM) marketing schemes brought in from US, Taiwan and Japanese business operators all hoping to lay their hand on the massive and highly lucrative markets coincided with accompanying economic uncertainty and a new shift towards individual wealth accumulation, unfortunately, some relentless and scrupulous countless incessant unlicensed pyramid multilevel marketing (MLM) get rich fast schemes had also stoked society strife and added to the economic burden of typical Chinese household as million had begun to embrace a western style consumable culture where mainstream, fragmented and highly influential social medias increasingly shape Chinese perception of being successful is to get rich where the end justify the means
“It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.”—- Deng Xiaoping
It all started with a humble Taiwanese massaging lifestyle device in 80s now still retailing at RMB$850 in online store “Taobao” where the operator got creative with their multi-tier marketing strategy despite only issued of single layer marketing license, fetching steeply inflated price as high as RMB$6980 covering its marketing expenses namely for the top and up-lines commissions and an irresistible promising prospect to become a re-seller by signing up as member with handsome potential returns under the US origin imported and locally improvised 5 level 3 tier rewarding payout arrangement. All legit with physical products and services until the turning point with ever increasing unsustainable member base and production inability to cope with the escalating demands which led to top management surprised realization the key is members recruitment with joining fees rather than the actual service and quality of the products to keep the ball rolling and from there on the MLM pyramid schemes took on a whole new dimension marketing “dreams” of get rich fast money games to anyone who willing to open up their wallets.
Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction. — Erich Fromm
Despite being banned on the mainland by the government in 1998, citing social, economic, and taxation issues as the exponential growth had tested the moral fiber of Chinese where the top tiers masterminds go through the ocean with their mouths open, swallowing up massive schools of tiny prawns like oversize whales. Most “believers” ended up destroying their personal credibility usually targeting the low hanging fruits of their immediate families to join the “program” and although it had been statistically proven, between 99.0% and 99.9% of all participants in MLMs in fact lose money. When seeming harmless dreams selling become normalised behaviours adding to the glory of getting rich regardless of methods continue to thrive this crowd milking activities, some perhaps revel in the successful recruitment of the network as long one is not the last sheep stepping into the slaughter house and no one had seriously acknowledge the facts that only the top and the subsequent immediate layers would had gotten all the member fees leaving the 3rd and bottom caught with their pants down when the tides recedes not unlike how the casino and lottery operates to a larger extent, the main different is the latter sell “luck” openly and legit in paying heavy taxes to the state and almost everyone ended up poorer and they strictly remained as Business to Consumer business models.
The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.–Theodore Roosevelt
Effective eradication of these scams is as delicate as a bird in the hand as these are driven by mankind’s desires to be successful unfortunately narrowly defined merely by monetary gains in China, further more since recently the anonymity and invisibility afforded by the virtual space remove inhibitions for soliciting and recruiting un-suspicious down-lines, in addition, the availability of professional MLM software platform like “3M Development” system asking RMB$5K to RMB$35000 and annual maintenance fees of RMB$1500 make the job easier for the witty snake oil salesman to focus on selling the “dreams” and recruitment of members through variety of online platforms making it harder and nearly impossible for the authority to crack as most often than not, hardly any members involved would step forward to lodge report and all these activities falls into the jurisdiction of commercial compliance department instead of police for criminal misconducts
“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”― Jim Carrey
In addition, in 2008 the multi millions business ventures went viral with pioneer MLM pyramid grandmaster’s clever’s repackaging and convincingly claiming endorsement of Chinese government to help the relatively poorer southern China regions to develop their infrastructures drawing inappropriate analogies of crowd funding had helped the southern farmers rebuilt their homelands after the American civil war 150 years back and how Japanese economy thrived for 30 years although she was slapped with hefty fines from the war tribunal in the late 1940s. The story is so persuasive and generated a new wave of “believers” flocking into the city of Nanning in Southern China within and from overseas all hoping to strike the MLM lottery leaving a trails of family tragedies and disappointments along the way all becoming the casualty of the money game.
When something looks too good to be true, it usually is.–Emmy Rossum
Nevertheless, there are perhaps couple of unique fundamental elements that inevitably will continue to drive the MLM pyramid schemes in China;
Weakening core values on true meaning of fruitful living, virtues alone failed to withstand the desires to strike gold mines promised with unsustainable short term returns, newly created millionaires are happening at a faster rate than ever before in China, most wouldn’t bat their eyes flaunting their wealth through lavish lifestyles thought highly visible high end rides and luxurious properties and the trend towards never ending similar illegal Chinese style MLM operations under all kind of pretexts usually some eye catching and hot topics such as gold, virtual currency, block chain and crowd funding and so on also reflects Chinese attitude’s change for bigger appetite on high returns with high risk, participants claiming 100% innocent lured by the ridiculous gains are usually fooling themselves joining the scam with their eyes wide open, even allowing for China bigger population, it still punches heavily above its weight on the ever larger scales.
“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it― Augustine of Hippo
Highly sophisticated Social influences and strategies, the perpetrators deploy multitude of high pressure brain washing and mental education with irresistible social peer influences and is instantly gaining trust with subsequent soft and hard mind conditioning and emotional pressure by multiple elements of social influencing with enthusiastic and passionate get rich dreams, also with the clever sharing of countless success stories in the grassroots hierarchy often cutting off the potential candidate’s access to their outside worlds for helps and distress calls whereas the charismatic top brass in the higher up set the stage of rich and famous lifestyle with extravagant material displays. The effective mind shaping and conversion to the scheme is not unlike some cult-like recruitment drive or the total radicalisation of the whole nation as what Nazi and Imperial Japanese army had done in the 40s.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.–Niemöller
Irresistible returns The money game scams come with just as many risks as opportunities to harness huge amount of wealth, it’s worth pursuing for the witty, capable and criminals at the top of the food chain Insisting on strong and proactive enforcement to help safeguard the masses for their own selfish gains while sacrificing others, these highly pervasive and manipulative commercial criminals are no different from other conventional robbers and thieves but with a lot more destructions and damages.
In summary, mitigating risk of fallen into the scams one need to encourage stronger moral grounds across the whole communities; its Important to recognise the long term trends which provided the backdrop and set the context for discussion of these issues, modern China had stagnated and went through extreme hard times for few decades until 1978s, she had impressively caught up with her equivalent super power in just 30 years since and these developments were nothing short of revolutionary creating a new middle class in hundreds of millions with insatiable appetites making impacts world wide with their new lifestyle needs. 100million went oversea for holidays and at home, they are consuming 7billon poultry Chicken annually, it is a challenge of growing interest to everyone from officials to ordinary Chinese citizens. MLM money game is just a new form of con artists existed since day one taking advantage of human basic flaws in greeds and selfishness just like in other developed counties like US and Taiwan. The bottom line is that big data tilts the playing field decisively in favour of the shrewd digital players themselves where they extract information and plant suggestions that will distort mostly middle income moral values and ended up behaving irrationally with motivated reasoning despite their gut feeling advice them otherwise, entirely fallen into the national drive to prosperity in these unspeakable manners resulting in ever more expanding membership base for the master minds.