By Malik Istifanus
Since the MMM community came to Nigeria, there have been many misconceptions and crass misunderstanding of what the scheme is all about. This misrepresentation of MMM is very dangerous and causes a damage for members of the public who can easily be deceived.
The misconception is based on an approach that MMM is a way to make money. People join MMM to make money and some of them get disappointed later. But MMM was never created to make money and cannot be used as a way to make money.
MMM is not an investment project (it is even stated on their website).To put money in MMM in order to multiply it is very indiscreet and contradicts the defining ideology of the scheme. It is important to emphasize that while investment is a monetary asset that will provide income in the foreseable future, MMM is a community of people who provide help to one other.
One member is willing to give help to one asking for it. The scheme serves as the interface between the one willing to provide help and the one needing the intervention freely given. In investment, bank clients take their hard earned money to the bank to invest. They deposit it into their accounts and whatever they do with the money is none of the client’s business. What the client wants is profit.
In MMM, you are donating not investing and there is no expectation of profit from any quarters. After investing, the investor looks forward to receiving financial benefits if the investment pulls through.
In MMM, one is not guaranteed to get his or her money back. This is what some people don’t know and hence their needless anxiety. This is the more reason there is emphasis on whoever is providing assistance – that is donating money – to always do so with his or her spare money in case of any eventuality. This is clearly stated on the website backoffice of the community.
As MMM claims, the community welcomes a member who wants to donate money for altruistic purpose. So, 1000 naira from a person who really wants to give his money for the sake of others is welcome, but any amount (even it is very big) provided with intention to make profit is absolutely not welcome.
Aside that, transferring money to help someone else is based on three principles, namely: gratuitousness, reciprocity and benevolence. Examining these terms, gratuitousness means granted without return. Simply put, in MMM, you are providing help and there is no promise of financial benefit in return unlike in investment. Second, reciprocity means exchanging things with others for mutual benefit. That is why MMM a mutual aid platform is. To reciprocate simply means to give back kind of treatment you have received from another person. In MMM, you provide help to someone and when you want to get help, you will probably receive it from someone else.
Reciprocity is not guranteed. It is a goal, but probably members will not get any money back. Those who are not comfortable with that are encouraged not to join the community because they create risks for their own financial situation and for the ideology of MMM. Lastly, benevolence is charitableness or goodwill. Even the holy books support this.
In addition, in MMM, after providing help to someone willingly, some members reciprocate this goodwill whenever you also need help. There is no bank here but direct transfers. The scheme is just like the trade by barter scheme of those days, the only difference being no physical interaction between those who provide help and those who receive help. It is not a money doubling scheme as being erroneously believed in some quarters.
The other difference is that in MMM there are no pledges or legally binding contracts. It is your own will to help. Those who are helped reciprocate this act of kindness to other members in the community. What is needed is honesty and trustworthiness. Members donate spare money which they are prepared to lose. It is a donation. It is not a profit making scheme neither is it an investment scheme. There is no central account but the desire to do good to others in the community without looking at financial benefits but mutual benefits.
As it has been observed, especially when the scheme was shut down in the country last year before it was reopened, the main threat to MMM is greed. People want short term profits as if they are investing. If people provide help not with the spirit of helping but making profit, members drain the system and it ends up crashing. It ends up not serving the purpose for which it was created by Sergey Mavrodi.
Rather than believe misleading information dumped on the internet about MMM, it is best to consider facts and dig for the truth yourself. MMM is a community of like-minded people. The number of members is not important for MMM. As MMM members claim, the most important thing anyone who decides to join the community can do is to share its ideology so as to disabuse the minds of those who hold erroneous perceptions about it.
Malik Istifanus sent this piece from Jos, Plateau State!