Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Amway, Blackwater, Focus on the Family Tree

Bill Berkowitz reports that Amway is getting ready to make a comeback.
What superb timing.
Just as we are getting used to the idea that much of the financial markets is one giant ponzi scheme, a company roughly based on the pyramid chain letter is set to rebuild its brand : a multi-level marketing scheme based on selling cleaning products to yourself while buying motivational tapes from the person up the chain who talked you into it.

Don't sneer. Amway made over $7-billion in 2007, having exported 80% of its business abroad to China, India, and Russia - where presumably a whole new batch of "distributors" is out looking around for people willing to buy their motivational tapes.
It's all about the networking.
Berkowitz reminds us of Amway's own networks and Muckety provides a nice interactive family tree with many more links than I've pillaged here :
  • Amway co-founder Richard DeVos was chair of the Republican National Committee and former chair of the Council for National Policy.
  • His son Dick DeVos, billionaire former president of Amway, is married to Betsy DeVos, former chair of the Michigan Republican Party and founder of the National Right To Life Committee.
  • Betsy is the older sister of Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater USA.
  • Betsy and Erik's mom, Elsa Prince Broekhuizen, is a director of the Council for National Policy along with Grover Norquist and Paul Weyrich and FotF's James Dobson, and a board member of Focus on the Family herself.

As Amway co-CEO Doug DeVos put it : "We thought, well, if we’re going to build a brand, build the brand that everybody knows already."

Fun fact : While the Mormons took the brunt of the coverage for their anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 campaign in California, the Colorado Independent reports that our Focus on the Family tree pumped more than six times as much as the Mormon church did into the Protect Marriage campaign - $1.25 million .


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