Capitalist Addresses Networking Communists
Moscow, Russia (August 8, 2000) – It was the last place one would expect. Near Red Square, Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union, met with Michael Sheffield, Chairman of the Multi-Level Marketing International Association (MLMIA), to discuss MLM and its impact on the Russian people.
That Sheffield (a Network Marketing Consultant) had the opportunity to provide Gorbachev with an in-depth insight into Network Marketing (MLM) is a testament to the revolution in thought that has moved communism closer to capitalism.
The day started with a first for Russia: a seven-mile-long MLM parade through Red Square. Jinuyan Li, president of The Tianshi Group, China’s largest MLM, led the parade. Waving to astonished Russians from the sunroof of his limousine, Li was accompanied by Michael Sheffield. Following the limousine were 40 brand new BMW automobiles that would later be awarded to top company distributors. This Tianshi world convention was attended by about 4,000 distributors from around the world.
Tianshi has garnered over 3.5 million distributors over the last three years. While Americans are proud to be the founders of the MLM concept, Tianshi has aggressively adopted it as a vehicle for creating income opportunities for a portion of China’s billion plus people.
In 1998, China temporarily banned MLM, while it created new laws to govern the unfamiliar but explosive movement in its country. Several American companies, as well as Tianshi, were allowed to operate “in the gray area” and continue some limited business activity.
While Tianshi waits for enactment of the new MLM laws in early 2004, it has begun to export American-founded MLM concepts around the world, to countries most Americans would never consider open to this ultimate display of capitalism. Tianshi manufactures and exports Chinese herbal products to over 30 countries, including Russia and many of the Baltic countries (formally Soviet satellites), Viet Nam, Korea, South Africa, India, Bangladesh, Mongolia, a growing number of South American countries. It even exports to the United States, via its American subsidiary. For the moment, however, Russia has become its crown jewel, with a growing distributor base of over 40,000.
The following is an excerpt of the speech given by Sheffield to Gorbachev, government officials from Russia and China, and the Tianshi distributor organization.
“In the past, many Americans have had a fear of your people (Russia and China) and what dangers your countries seemed to represent to our own future. I now understand that feeling was mutual. The political differences between our countries tend to create negative images of the people that are not accurate at all. I was a guest in Beijing, China, earlier this year where I addressed thousands of Chinese MLM distributors. My personal observation is that people are the same everywhere. The Russian and Chinese people are warm, friendly and have many of the same hopes and dreams of Americans. We all want financial security, a better life and a brighter future for our children. The MLM industry provides that opportunity through a business system that rewards for personal initiative.”
“While we are separated by language barriers and cultural differences, all of us here today now speak a common language called Multi-Level Marketing. It is a language of peace, prosperity, sharing, friendship, joy, and commitment to the success of others in the organization. One of my country’s greatest motivational and inspirational philosophers, Zig Ziglar, said, ‘Help enough other people get what they want out of life and you will get everything you want.’ MLM encourages personal achievement, promotes financial rewards for performers and compensates each individual for their contribution to the success of their own organizations. I believe that MLM will do more to spread the message of friendship, understanding and world peace among our peoples than anything we have experienced in the past.”
Multi-Level Marketing is a form of direct selling, and most people who become Multi-Level Marketing independent distributors begin on a part time basis. They work a few hours each week, and each hour of effort serves as a building block for their long-term business growth. They sponsor other people and teach those people how to sell the company’s product or service and to sponsor others in turn. Their chosen MLM company’s compensation plan rewards them with a small portion of the profits on products sold by their downline organization along with their personal retailing profits. This “principle of duplication” can create geometric growth leading to hundreds or even thousands of people joining their business and increasing their income accordingly. Because of the low investment necessary to begin an MLM distributorship, it is ideal as an early entrepreneurial beginning for the average Russian.
It is possible that the 50-year-old MLM industry made famous worldwide by Amway (The American Way) and now boasting over 1,000 such organizations, will provide the strength and foundation needed to stabilize the Russian economy. Will Multi-Level Marketing provide the education and practical experience for the general population of the benefits that capitalism and entrepreneurship will provide to their future? With capitalism, the great American experiment, being exported through MLM to Communist China, Russia and other of our former enemies, will the people of the world move closer in their understanding of one another?
Because of the new communications technology of the Internet, no longer will a people live in darkness regarding the benefits as well as tribulations experienced by other people around the world. No longer can a biased press influence the opinions of the average thinking man. The MLM companies of today and the future will play a great role in influencing people’s thinking. This is a great responsibility and emphasizes the critical importance of quality MLM education for company executives as well as their distributors regarding ethical behavior in business practices. The Multi-Level Marketing 2 International Association (MLMIA), along with the good work of the Direct Selling Association (DSA), will continue to provide the guidelines that the worldwide Multi-Level Marketing industry will need to regulate itself. And, of course, if we don’t regulate ourselves, our governments will.