According to the latest paper co-authored by Freakonomics author Steven Levitt, the Klu Klux Klan functioned more like Amway than Al-Qaeda:
“The terrorist group was primarily a pyramid scheme selling hate and was far more successful at making money than at influencing politics.”
Thanks to dues, taxes, and of course, exorbitant robe prices, the Klan’s top salesmen raked in the dough:
“Levitt and Fryer calculated that in one year, David Curtis Stephenson, the Grand Dragon of Indiana and 22 other states, took home about $2.5 million (in 2006 dollars). “The Klan was able to bundle hatred with fraternity and make a real sell of it,” says Fryer.”
In a world full of hatred, the Klan business model could certainly work again. For example, what about a new secret society dedicated to anti-immigration policies.
But why not take it a step further? If such societies are largely ineffectual, and function to strip resources from the hateful, why not start such a society and then secretly funnel the proceedings to fighting the very cause espoused? Now that would be a neat feat of jujitsu marketing.