It´s Vilfredo Pareto´s fault.

Born in Paris on July 15, 1848, died 1923 in Geneva, Pareto was an Italian economist and sociologist, known for his theory on mass and elite interaction as well as for his application of mathematics to economic analysis.

In an effort to rise into the elite of the upper strata, privileged members of the lower-class groups continually strive to use their abilities and improve them; the opposite tendency obtains among the elite.

Pareto´s first work, Cours d'Economie Politique (1896—97), included his famous but much-criticized law of income distribution, in which Pareto attempted to prove that the distribution of incomes and wealth in society is not random and that a consistent pattern appears throughout history, in all parts of the world and in all societies.

This became known as Pareto´s Law: "The law of the trivial many and the critical few." You´ll recognize it as the 80/20 Rule.

Eventually, believing there were problems that economics could not solve, Pareto turned to sociology, writing what he considered his greatest work, Trattato di sociologia generale (1916; Mind and Society).

The Economics of Fascism

Persons of superior ability, Pareto argued, actively seek to confirm and aggrandize their position; thus social classes are formed. In an effort to rise into the elite of the upper strata, privileged members of the lower-class groups continually strive to use their abilities and improve them; the opposite tendency obtains among the elite. As a result, the best-equipped persons from the lower class rise to challenge the position of the upper-class elite. There thus occurs a "circulation of elites." Because of his theory of the superiority of the elite, Pareto sometimes has been associated with fascism.

Fascism...scary. Centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism; even racism.

So ... is network marketing inherently "fascist"? Uh oh.

Look at it this way: do network marketing companies have "persons of superior ability who actively seek to confirm and aggrandize their position"? "Upline" ... "downline" ... hmmm—anything like social classes? Do "privileged members of the lower-class groups (i.e., downline) continually strive to use their abilities and thus improve them"? Is there a "circulation of elites" in network marketing?

Are we evidence of the 80/20 Rule?

Now, I don´t do "political." I´m not really able to distinguish between an anarchist and a fascist, although I enjoy hearing smart people tell me all about it (and themselves). But I´m a big fan of Pareto´s 80/20 Law. Does it apply here?

The Law of the Elite?

80 percent of network marketers don´t earn a thing. You know that one. That leaves 20 percent who do. 80 percent of them don´t earn really substantial incomes. And 80 percent of those folks left still don´t really qualify as the "elite," do they?

Start with 1000 network marketers. 800 are gone in round one. Round two leaves 40; by the third 80/20, there are eight. One more twenty-percenting leaves 1.6—i.e., one or two people. So, rounding off the final round, out of 1000 people who come into network marketing, one or two are going to make the final cut, make it far enough up the comp plan to be said to truly be the network marketing "elite."

So ... human nature? Just the way the cookie crumbles? That´s life? I don´t buy it. (Not even as a wholesale consumer.) As the great communications philosopher Atandt once declared, "The system IS the solution."

IMnsHO, the "problem" here (in network marketing) is that the "how to" do this business taught for so long by so many is notwork marketing for somewhere between 992 and 998 out of 1000 folks who begin networking. And if you´re smart and have a good heart, you´re going to want to do something about that.

Network Marketing For the Rest of Us

What would happen to your network organization´s total productivity (i.e., your check) if you could raise up, say, 20 or even 10 percent of those less-than-elite downline people? Hey, 10 percent of 990-something is 99 people. What if 99 more people were hitting that grand or two a month for their "part-time" effort? Or even half that?

After years of observing, I think I find that most times network marketers don´t get what they need: a system of how-to that embraces most all personal styles (i.e., that leaves plenty of room for "my way," no matter what that way is) and has integrity—that honors people´s values and is founded and grounded in vision. How can we change that? Because only we—i.e., you and I, we—can; or at least, will.

Network marketing is all about relationships, friendships, partnerships and leadership. Because this is so: your network marketing business will only grow as straight, as big and as fast as you do. Because this is so: The foundation of your success in network marketing is your own and your people´s personal growth and development. And because these things are so: your network marketing business must be based on values and vision ... you must learn to speak and listen more and better ... and you must put these into action every day you work your business.

These are what will cut—nay, slash—into the 80 percent and have more of them (us) succeed better. The more of them (us) that succeed, the greater you will be—in all areas of your life. And the only way I know to accomplish this is through partnership and community.

John Milton Fogg is the author of million-selling book,The Greatest Networker in the World, and founder of the Greatest Networker online community.