Answer by mic_cross2000
Personal view By Eyob Tadele
Gold Quest –a quest for sale..,or sin?
About a year ago a foreign network marketing company named Gold quest is introduced in Addis on an informal friendship circle. The primary strategy of those individuals representing the company is to promote the purchase of gold products mainly coins and gold watches. The company uses a marketing system called multi level marketing (MLM) scheme to promote the purchase of the product at a global market. MLM scheme is a system of marketing any product by offering a commission benefits to any one customer who buys a product and brings through him/her two other customers and those two others another two each and a total of four and those four brings each two and a total of eight customers. …etc. until it reaches a certain stage at where the top first one will be offered a certain percentage of the sales or a specific amount of money. All in all it is a pyramidal scheme where by the bottom goes on expanding to a larger and larger number of individuals entering the pyramidal pool hoping to have such big pyramids under each of them so that they can be benefited as the parental pyramid top. The marketing scheme is remarkably rewarding to those at the top and it brings an amazing consistency of product rate of sales to the factory producing the product. The system is very contagious to any ordinary individuals aspiring a ‘get rich fast ‘ attitude. It grows fast and spread fast as a fast spreading virus infecting many minds of individuals with an amazing rate of growth.
Here simply there are two aspects of the system. One is the product as any product in a conventional market. The other is the marketing strategy. As far as the product is concerned there isn’t much problem if it is desired and its price considered as fair, however the marketing strategy is fraud because of two reasons, one, the promise of the benefits to everyone is ‘a deliberate miscalculation’. The business collapses at the base exhausting all willing to purchase the product. And actually if the product was worthy of the price offered to it, there wasn’t any fraud but as the final buyers are the ones to buy the product and have no benefits what so ever promised as to get as commission, they are bound to be left with a ten gram gold bought for about 5000 birr and GQ says to these people that their gold appreciates in value as time goes by because of the printed picture on the gold coin is limited in number and so it will have a numismatic value later in time and so as a result they won’t loss any thing rather they get still something even if they cease to bring new buyers to the pyramid pool GQ CLAIMS!. This is fallacious because of that it is not that predictable when, how, and by how much the value of the coin will be appreciating. We might have seen the value of the coins of the era of king Haileselase being sold on some streets of Addis by some dergue x-solders as last desperate wealth of their treasure. The coin they sell today, say a ‘fifty cents ‘coin might be sold, say for ten birr. Mind you the ten birr today may not buy what the fifty cents is capable to buy during those times. What does this shows us? A five thousand birr I spend on the coin is like money I kept in a bank called the ‘gold coin’ hopping it will have interest rate, which is called numismatic value. The rate by which amount I get, as an interest is NOT known. But as commonly known, numismatic value increases very slowly as Haileselase’s coin became a little valuable only in more than thirty years. Therefore my five thousand birr in the form of the ten-gram gold coin may bring interest of another five thousand birr in, say, twenty years. Then I have after twenty years ten thousand birr. But in twenty years there is also inflation. So the five thousand birr of now may have the buying value of the ten thousand birr of twenty years later. This way I will profit nothing contrary to GQ’s preaching. Therefore the whole benefit will be from the pyramidal sells promotion and mainly to those at the top of the pyramid in the expense of many who came at the bottom who will find nobody to come under them. The other is the product is an imported item. So it requires foreign currency to purchase it. As to the policy in Ethiopia it is forbidden to send out a large amount of hard currency without national bank‘s prier recognition.
God knows how our so-called network marketing association members here in our locality manage this problem of sending hard currency which is a minimum of 250$ USD per each new gold coin or watch buyer member to a foreign land with out bank LC or legal permit! This in long term will have an adverse effect to a country like ours by creating an uncontrolled out-flow of hard currency to a foreign land since many people will spend a lot of their money to purchase Gold coins and some fanciful commodities by a hard currency which the country has limited of it that even some very basic things like medicine and vital spare parts in industries and house hold equipment are not being imported sufficiently due to shortage of hard currency. One other most important point is that it is ethically wrong in the very nature of it that it encourages “not working” by its one of the mottos which says “Early retirement “As the wish of GQ to individuals. I ask the reader here, let alone preaching ‘not working’ and ‘early retirement’ in a country like ours, what is the situation of our country these days irrespective of government attempts to alleviate poverty? We are already on the verge of being called the laziest nation on earth who couldn’t defeat poverty even at this age of high development in the other corner of the world. It seems, one of the reasons why we are facing such downtrodden life ever going down from year to year is because of that we only talk of development and as to actually working on it, we retreat back and deep inside there is a long lived strong temptation of immobility and so desperately we aspire for “a get rich fast “ motto and obviously we attract such confirming fraud companies like GQ which promises early retirement from conventional work which is yet a necessity to a country like ours unable to feed her people the basic food sufficiently.
Generally speaking I am not as such against to multi level marketing. It all depends on what kind of product is being promoted to be sold in the marketing scheme. For instance if certain vaccination which is vitally important in taking care of public health is to be distributed using such benefit bearing scheme to every first coming person to take the vaccine, well, I can see its benefits in spreading the vaccine fast among a community. Also if domestic products producing large and small-scale industries follow such marketing scheme to up sale their products, which the product itself is consumable and desirable and above all useful, I definitely agree and even support its development in our country. However on the other hand if it is to up sale just gold coins and other fanciful products which are like that of GQ from a foreign land by hard won hard currency, I believe we shouldn’t have such a greedy quest for wealth in an unfair way of acquiring it. For me such is not a decent quest for gold rather it is a quest for sin. If we see some global facts about MLM and in particular GQ on the Internet super high way, we can find many websites forwarding countless information regarding strong critics and legal conflicts GQ faces in many countries.
The following are few of them I found on the Internet. (Any one interested can go to google and search for MLM-and gold quest. There is plenty of information to read). GQ is considered as a perfect scam. The scam is in the design of the compensation plan which is based on recruiting new members, to the right and left “tree” of each trucking number namely TCO.when you run out of members the scheme collapses. Different policies /rules in different countries may mean that the legal status of GQ differs from location to location but that does not alter in any way the FACT that it is a scam. The harm these scams do to economies of developing countries like Ethiopia can be staggering. Albania lost almost the entirety of its national savings in a series of scams that gripped the country the moment it came out of the communist block. This is why china issued an outright ban on “network marketing “/”Multi-level Marketing” /”matrix Marketing” schemes that are invariably disguised pyramid scams. Multilevel marketing (MLM) is pushed by its proponents as being a “new “ system of distribution that can bring wealth to millions. However, in truth, MLM is over 40 years old, the poster boy for MLM is Amway, which was founded in 1959. The status of GQ in Srilanka is that it has collapsed. No new recruitment has taken place since last July. The central bank has fined 7 ‘ upline leaders’ Rs.88m (aboutUS$ 850,000). Fines are to be imposed on 920 others. GQ in particular is banned in Nepal, Bhutan. (Despite minting some coins for the royal monetary authority). Facing prosecution in India. Warnings have been issued in countries as far apart as Tanzania and the Philippines. GQ is not the first pyramid scam selling gold coins either. GOLD UNLIMITED ran the identical “binary compensation plan “ based on gold coins in the US. It runs for 10 years under a variety of names including “AMERICAN GOLD EAGLE “ until the authorities banned it. The full text of the US court of appeals judgment is available at:
Valuable current information about Gold quest’s dark stories are well elaborated in the following sites.
http://www.nepalitimes.com/issue131/domestic_brief.htm http://southasia.oneworld.net/article/view/89307/1/92 http://www.inq7.net/nat/2003/aug/19/nat_10-1.htm http://coincollector.org/archives/001681.html
Before I wind up my critical piece of writing on GQ, I would like to share the following story taken from a true happenstance. There was such a family in Addis, a mother working at the ‘guulit’ where she was selling onions and potatoes and small things, which we call it, poor man’s job. The father was a guard at a private small-scale company. They had two children, both young men. The family was poor however very happy and laughter dwells in their very little cottage house. The two children were very good in their education. They both were scoring good grades .One day the father won lottery tombola, a bus –Kachiamaly- a very popular rich men’s property in those times. The family became very ecstatic, as any body feels delighted if he gets such chances. Soon afterwards the father managed to drive the bus himself and started the ritchmen’s work in the local sense. The family income abruptly changed, the mother stopped her ‘guulit’ work, and the children’s mind was then divided in to two. Everybody started to think dutifully how he or she managed the money, what they had to buy. And as they noticed the difference income status they recently had with the neighbors, they started to talk about how people changed on them and how ‘Habesha is really jealous!’ The laughter and happy talks were then replaced by serious talks and ideas. Six months passed, their house refurbished, furnitures bought, fence to their little house made just to separate them from the neighbors. Another year and half passed, then one day the father got seriously ill, he went to the hospital, up on his blood test, he was found to be HIV positive, sadness came to the family. In a few months the father died, just after a year the mother felt weak and she was tested to have HIV virus too. She died after few months. The two children faced trouble in managing their life and the inheritance, soon disagreement hatched in their heart then they went to court to settle their disagreement over the inheritance…………………………
Where did the sudden wealth led the family? Can I be sure of what a hundreds of thousands birr bring with it to my life is really positive? Let alone, when it is in the expense of others? Meaning, with no value contributed on my behalf? Of course financial freedom, for those with good visions and firm understanding to remain a master over any amount of money, is supportable. However financial freedom for every one as GQ promises can bring chaos to the smooth flow of financial transaction at a national level since those low-grade students and others with no clue of the challenge of administering large amount of money do most likely engage themselves in unwise way of spending the money. Therefore the public at large will not be benefited from the 2400$ u.s.d per day promise which is GQ’s wish goal to everyone entering the pyramidal pool of sales of the fanciful products. In my philosophy a person in a conventional way of work ethics earns an amount of money, which he deserves according to his productive effort to get that money. His effort makes him on the way capable of being a master over the amount of money he gets in accordance to his work effort.Dear reader, try to weigh the prone and cons of such kinds of viral and infectious so called business ventures, and protect yourself from the unethical business practice. The host for such a virus is nothing but greed and lust for wealth in which sin is their main ingredient.
My message to all of us is to protect our hard-won resources and ourselves from such pyramid scams by withdrawing ourselves from participating until it is exposed to public scrutiny and responsible government bodies confirm the legality of the business. As claimed by those well exposed to it in many other countries, not even 10%of the investors are benefited out of it. Only those on the top of the pyramid will be benefited in the expense of many coming under at the bottom of the pyramid. This is a special time; our country moved a step forward in bringing encouraging improvement as to building infrastructures, in introducing new policies on trade and economy, tax policies, civil service reforms.etc… Then adversely of course, such new challenge of fraud business practice now stand on the way of our development just when we attempt to rise from our long time backwardness by effort to work and produce values and valuables. If we don’t stop such kinds of foreign pyramid scams at this early stage, many similar companies will soon find their way to our country and our national economy is going to face a great trouble because of an uncontrolled outflow of hard currency to a foreign land just to purchase fanciful gold coins and ornaments and due to a fast spreading reluctance of individuals for conventional work among the community at large as they are promised early retirement and easy money. Be ware, the unhealthy business ethics has already affected many similar countries as ours. We need to be vigilant and alert in our concern to our fellow friends and families and to our country to protect their good will to do real work and still work hard to maintain skeletal values of conventional work, which are vitally important for real improvement in our life. Profit must follow out of real equivalent effort, not from irresponsible smartness and trick of numbers. Value for Value!! –That must be our motto in our ethics for work.So longEyob Tadeleeyotawo@hotmail.comA concerned!Any one interested to discuss more in depth is most welcomed on my behalf.
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