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Do Your Sums

. . . There Are Three Kinds of People in the World: Those Who Can Count, and Those Who Can't . . .

 

Pretty much every Spam Scam could be demolished just by performing some quick arithmetic calculations in your head. Unfortunately, the great majority of people appear to be congenitally incapable of simple arithmetic, which is why there are so many frauds.

Some kinds of Spam Scams are actually illegal. Chain letters, for example, and pyramid schemes, and the majority of Multi-Level Marketing schemes these days. Why are they illegal? Because they don't work! Basically, anything that violates the Laws of Thermodynamics, or the Laws of Mathematics, should be illegal.

Let's look at the anatomy of a typical Multi-Level Marketing Scam. The first thing to understand about most Multi-Level Marketing scams is that they are not focussed on selling a product—they are focussed primarily on recruiting other people to recruit other people, without end, to sell product, at some point, maybe. They are also focussed on selling promotional materials, motivational materials, and other materials basically irrelevant to the product (if any), but more to enrich the people who started the Multi-Level Marketing Scam in the first place.

 

So, the typical Multi-Level Marketing Scam starts out by telling you that the real way to make your way in this fabulous organisation is to recruit others in your “downline” to recruit others in their “downline” to recruit others in their “downline” to . . .

 

So, let's “do our sums”, as we say in Britain. This stuff is not higher mathematics—it's simple mental arithmetic, of the kind that the average person can't do to save their wallet. One of the Multi-Level Marketing Scams I had thrown at me involved each “recruit” going out and recruiting five more “recruits”. So, now let's look at some numbers. Let's say we start with you. You can consider yourself at Level 1. In reality, by the time you are “recruited”, you are more likely to be at Level 5 or greater, and then your problems are compounded. So let us draw up a table of the levels of “recruits”, and see where we end up, and we soon see the numbers add to what mathematicians call Reductio ad Absurdum, or, in plain English, Reduction to Absurdity.

LEVEL NUMBER COMMENTS
  OF PEOPLE  
1 1

Well, here you are, all on your own. Your goal is to recruit five people to help you sell the alleged product.

2 5

Wow, now you have five helpers. You obviously recruited these people among friends and family.

3 25

Now there are twenty-five people flogging away flogging product. Chances are by now you don't know some of those people.

4 125

Now you have pretty much all of the people in your extended circle at the Social and Arthritic Club where you work out. By now, some of those people who you don't even know are likely trying to recruit you.

5 625

Now you have pretty much all of the people in your extended circle at the Social and Arthritic Club where you work out, plus their friends and family, plus bunches of people you will never meet in your lifetime.

6 3125

By now you have the entire membership and staff of the Social and Arthritic Club where you work out. They are all very busy selling “product” to each other, plus recruiting new sellers from other Social and Arthritic Clubs in the area with which they are affiliated.

7 15,625

Now you are really on a roll. You have pretty much the entire population of the small town where you live all very busy selling “product” to each other, plus recruiting new sellers from other towns in the area.

8 78,125

The numbers are looking great now. The entire population of five neighbouring towns are all busy selling “product” to each other, plus recruiting new sellers from outlying towns in the area. You wonder why strangers on the street are approaching you trying to “recruit” you to sell a “product” for which you have already “recruited” 78,000 people.

9 390,625

The sales are really on the rise. In terms of where I live in Silicon Valley, we now have pretty much all of the population of the mid-Peninsula all selling “product” to each other and basically printing money for doing so. The “recruiting” drive has really gathered steam by now and they are starting to look at saturating all of San Francisco and the Deep South Bay with a new “recruiting” drive.

10 1,953,125

With this number of “recruits”, we are really moving the “product”. All of the population of the San Francisco Peninsula are busy “recruiting” more sellers and also selling “product” to everybody else in the area, and everybody is getting richer by the minute.

11 9,765,625

Now we have the entire population of Northern California in the club. Close to ten million people are out there selling “product”, but, even better, are on a massive (nearly ten-million strong) mission to each “recruit” five more “recruits”. By now, the entire population of Northern California have enlisted their friends, their family, even their mothers in law, and possibly some of the homeless, to sell more “product”, and to get more “recruits”.

12 48,828,125

We are expanding over the entire West Coast! Now we have all the population of California, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and Washington in the club. Forty-eight million people are out there selling “product” to each other and to everybody that they can “recruit”. Stay tuned for the next level—it will be a blockbuster!

13 244,140,625

We have hit national level now! Almost the entire population of the United States of America are selling “product” to each other, and everybody is getting richer by the minute. We have clearly run out of “recruits” in the United States of America, unless we count children under the age of five. There are probably laws against child labour, and laws against selling to infants, so we have to expand our horizons to countries where they don't have such silly scruples.

14 1,220,703,125

At level 14, you are very clearly a marketing genius. You now have the entire Indian sub-continent selling “product” to each other and to all the people you previously “recruited” in the United States of America. This is clearly a boon to the huge five hundred million-strong “middle class” of India. From this level, we can go on to conquer the planet.

15 6,103,515,625

Well, we have now run out of room. At level 15, you have “recruited” everybody on the planet, including babes suckling at their mother's breasts, criminals in prisons, and rats in the wainscotting of society. We now have the entire planetary population selling “product” to each other and mysteriously getting rich. By now, you personally having started at Level One way back when, now have more money than the GDP of the entire planet. And obviously, all of your “recruits” from Level Two clearly have money about one fifth of the GDP of the entire planet. And their “recruits” from Level Three have money about one twenty-fifth of the GDP of the entire planet, which is still a pretty respectable amount—just over a trillion dollars each.

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Page Updated 2011 December 10