Friday, July 4, 2014

Predicting cult destiny using the MLM model

Cult watch day 3000, RIP Shawn Lonsdale.

There are plenty of linear list comparing the common characteristics of cults and MLM. I would think there are internal structural similarities that make them appear so similar on the outside. Though I don't know enough about Scientology nor MLM.

The concept of MLM is pure and simple but Scientology not so much. I would love to have discovered that SCN is just a pyramid so we can use the history of MLM to predict it's destiny. But I think the SCN symbols said it all - that it is multiple pyramids all about money (the double triangle and the $).

Certainly Hubbard would have incorporated the MLM schemes started in the 30's to 50's. His Dianetics is basically a spiritual copy of Nutrilite, probably the first popular MLM product line. Just as Avon realized it needs MLM to survive in 2005, Hubbard would make up MLM structures as he went along.

SCN is therefore not a simple pyramid (but perhaps it actually is), but you can clearly identify smaller pyramids. Auditing is a MLM scheme. To be a higher level auditor you have to pay for the training. So every public who buy the product (auditing) also pays higher ups on the auditing pyramid.

Narconon is a pyramid scheme. Customers are recruited into staff and everything is based on commission.

It's harder to compare public scientologists with MLM associates. Scnists are in, they pay but they don't sell. Perhaps you can look at the product as an improved-self. A public paid for the product and sold it to others, by being better employees or entrepreneurs. They do recruit others into Scn and the return for them may be an improved company, workspace, or colleague, that has monetary value to them.

Diskkeeper and Tom Cruise are big recruiters.

It is very interesting if we can predict the destiny Scn with the MLM model.

The Internet itself isn't going to kill off MLM despite the amount of negative experiences of MLM is all over the web. There are always enough gullible people who join for the instant dream starting package, reading the web or not. Especially if the recruiter is your aunt who is doing well. It's also hard for people to leave even if they have no money left and have the same bad experience matching what the web says. They invested so much and have no alternative dream. They may be like the majority of MLM recruits, lying idle when money runs out.

Regulation isn't going to kill off MLM easily. The FTC lost to AmWay and started the 20 billion industry. The FTC crashed Herbalife in 2012 and then 2014. Other MLM companies stock prices follows. Even with criminal investigations it's probably not enough to wipe out HLF.

You are not fighting one MLM, but the whole 20 billion industry and it's lobby. It's even harder for cults because even major religions sometimes think like cults, as seen in the forced abortion case.

How will it end? I would like to know too.

The Independents are hopeless. There's no MLM breakaway executives who can take over the mother company with the SAME product and story. You got to have a "better" product, be a successful company and then swallow the mother company.

When recruitment dry up, the pyramid will collapse on it's own weight. Sure they will run out of gullible people but there will be new markets. Fortunately no way China will open up to another new cult and Scn is doing poorly if at all in South America like Brazil. These are now new big markets for MLM.

Scn is dead once they stop producing auditors in enough numbers. This has already happened. May be COB is clever enough to move away from MLM with something like direct cannibalism to preserve the core and self.

Top level associates left. This is a great bat signal that the boat is sinking. They are not making money. This has happened but in Scn their importance and rank can be covered up, becoming just another bitter apostate. It have to be well known names like the actor in the Orientation film, or Tom Cruise.

Product recall and lawsuits. This had happened, the big brainwash lawsuit but not enough to bankruptcy them. Narconon is another possibility.  It is the perfect bad product. If they spend 100 million on lawyers and settlement each lawsuit, they will be bankrupted very soon. 10 mil will do the trick if enough people come forward.

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