UK’s The Spectator Sells Pyramid Schemes as Female Empowerment

A couple years ago this web site wrote about the pyramid schemes popular in Great Britain that target women using feminist jargon. But leave it to the idiots at UK newsmagazine The Spectator to run a cover story by Rachel Royce extolling the virtues of the so-called “Hearts” schemes.

It’s interesting to see how these cons change over time. Eighty years ago Charles Ponzi used people’s vanity and desire for money to separate them from their money. This being the 21st century, Royce falls instead for sisterhood rhetoric,

The scheme I’ve invested in is known as Hearts, and it’s for women only. It calls itself a ‘gifting scheme that benefits all women.’ Men aren’t allowed in because they’d ruin it with their incessant cynicism and greed. They aren’t supposed to know about it. That, in a way, is the point.

Of course. Why didn’t anyone ever see this before — the only reason pyramid schemes don’t typically work is because of all of those greedy males who are participating. Make it an all-feminine thing, and the laws of mathematics simply disappear.

This is particularly ironic given how Royce vacillates between calling her participation in this pyramid scheme an “investment” at times and a “gamble” at others. She is correct in calling it a gamble, but it is an odd sort of gamble. The way to make money in a pyramid scheme is to be one of the initial people involved. Those folks end up making money, but only by leaving those who enter later high and dry (since the pyramid scheme requires exponentially more gamblers as time goes by until it falls apart under its own weight).

So while Royce is complaining about male avarice, the reality is that if she sees any return on her gamble, it will be at the expense of dozens of women who themselves will not stand a snowball’s chance in hell of recouping their initial outlay. Sisterhood is powerful . . . and exploitative.

But Royce has the temerity to defend ripping off her friends as some sort of test of commitment to feminism,

Of course, I wonder about the morality of introducing my friends — and their friends — to something which might lose them money. The worry is that the original, upper-middle-class women will soon run out of rich friends and, under great pressure to bring in cash, start to recruit their cleaners. At this point, of course, investing becomes a much more dangerous proposition. But to disapprove of the scheme on these grounds is to suggest that women are incapable of understanding the risk and that, the poorer a woman is, the less choice she should have.

Rich or poor, however, these women are responsible for their own actions. That in a way is what this little scam is all about: allowing women the responsibility to make financial decisions and giving them the rather glorious feeling of naughty financial independence.

Why not just take the money into a corner, light it with a match, and watch it burn? You’d get the same effect.


Girls just want to have funds. Rachel Royce, The Spectator (UK), July 12, 2003.

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