Usually when I think of a social justice cause, I think of ending racism, equal pay for women, improving our inner-city education, and fighting for the civil rights of marginalized people. But the other day, it dawned on me – network marketing is an opportunity for social justice.
To illustrate, let’s break down the structure of a traditional retail business using a fictional company for clarity. Let’s say that the company “Gizmo” has a product called “Gadgets.” Gadgets are sold at stores called “The Gidget Emporium.” Let’s also suppose that the owner/manager of one franchise store is named Jeff, and has three employees.
So Gizmo makes the Gadgets, packages them, and sends them to a storage warehouse. Jeff purchases the Gizmos from the company at wholesale prices for his store: The Gidget Emporium. The Gadgets are shipped from the warehouse to the Emporium, where they are marked up to retail price. Jeff sells the Gadgets at the store, where customers buy them at retail price, and drive them home in their cars to use them.
Jeff must sell his products at a high enough price to make a profit after paying for his expenses, which include:
* Rent, heat, lighting, and maintenance of the Gidget Emporium building.
* His employees salaries and benefits (hopefully)
* Advertising for his product
* His own salary
Other costs include shipping from the warehouse to the Emporium, fees for payroll companies, licensing, property taxes, hiring and interviewing costs, etc.
The reasons why this system is not socially just are many. First, the three employees are most likely not making living wage, with little chance for advancement, promotion or management experience. Second, the shipping from warehouse to store, as well as the gas used to drive these products from store to home, are releasing pollution into our environment.
Third, and most importantly, the Gadgets are being marked up to retail price to cover the costs listed above. Higher costs for necessary goods make the cost of living higher for struggling families. Routine household items cost more for consumers while the profits are being funneled to large corporations or organizations. The advertising Jeff is doing is benefiting TV companies, newspaper companies, and advertising agencies. Trucking companies, payroll companies, and utility companies are also getting a piece of the raised prices. Employees of these big corporations are not likely to receive a piece of the profits, and are not guaranteed a living wage. There is also more likely to be discrimination, sexism or other prejudice in the hiring and promotion process of a large corporation. Most of the executives are upper-class white males, who can afford high retail costs of goods.
Can you spot the problems in the above example? Let’s take a look at how network marketing tends to create more socially just systems.
If Gizmo Corp. was a network marketing company, Jeff would market the products to people he knows and people in his community, who would purchase the products directly from the warehouse. In network marketing, advertising costs are reduced or eliminated, there is less transportation pollution, and Jeff has a much more fulfilling job – talking to people about Gadgets instead of managing a store, inventory and employees. Members can buy products at reduced rates, and instead of the mark-up benefiting big corporations, Jeff gets a piece of the profits.
The most profound social justice principle at work in network marketing is the ability of anyone from any background to make an unlimited salary with no formal education. All that Jeff needs is an entrepreneurial spirit, a willingness to take risks, determination, and some support/training from the Gizmo Corp and his peers. He can set his own hours, choose a way of working that fits him best, and be able to work from home to raise his children.
Even as part-time income, network marketing can create just enough extra income to invest, save, or get a(nother) degree, making upward mobility and financial stability possible.
My realization has given me yet another reason to introduce my business to others, knowing that I am helping people create financial freedom and providing better products at lower prices without the guilt.
Join the social justice movement and start your own network marketing business!
Colin J. Turner
Social Marketing Photo
By mohamed_hassan from Pixabay