Multi-Level Marketing: At the Crossroads of Economy and Religion

The Economics of Religion: Anthropological Approaches

ISBN: 978-1-78052-228-9, eISBN: 978-1-78052-229-6

ISSN: 0190-1281

Publication date: 12 December 2011


This chapter focuses on the changing relationship between multi-level marketing (MLM) and religion. MLM originated in the 1950s in the United States out of a desire to make capitalism more humane. It was initially based on Protestant networks linked to prosperity theology, which among other things enabled it to grow internationally. Yet, comparing how MLM adapted to conditions in three different countries (South Korea, Haiti, and France) shows that its ability to break away from this controversial theology was crucial to its international development. It was then able to approach other religious movements, and even to secularize its values.


Luca, N. (2011), "Multi-Level Marketing: At the Crossroads of Economy and Religion", Obadia, L. and Wood, D.C. (Ed.) The Economics of Religion: Anthropological Approaches (Research in Economic Anthropology, Vol. 31), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 217-239.

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