From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nepotism means favoring relatives or personal friends because of their relationship rather than because of their abilities. The word is generally used in a derogatory sense.
For example, if a manager employed or promoted a relative rather than a more qualified non-relative, that manager would be guilty of nepotism. Some biologists have suggested that a tendency towards nepotism is instinctual, a form of kin selection.
The word nepotism comes from the Latin word 'nepos', meaning "nephew". In the Middle Ages, some Catholic popes and bishops, who had taken vows of chastity, raised their illegitimate sons as "nephews" and gave them preferences. Several popes are known to have elevated nephews and other relatives to the cardinalate. Often, such appointments were used as a means of continuing a papal "dynasty". For instance, Pope Callixtus III, of the Borgia family, made two of his nephews Cardinals; one of them, Rodrigo, later used his position as a Cardinal as a stepping stone to the papacy, becoming Pope Alexander VI. Coincidentally, Alexander—one of the most corrupt popes—elevated Alessandro Farnese, his mistress's brother, to the cardinalate; Farnese would later go on to become Pope Paul III. Paul also engaged in nepotism, appointing, for instance, two nephews (aged fourteen and sixteen) Cardinals. The practice was finally ended when Pope Innocent XII issued a bull in 1692. The papal bull prohibited popes in all times from bestowing estates, offices, or revenues on any relative, with the exception that one qualified relative (at most) could be made a Cardinal.
Nepotism is a common accusation in politics when the relative of a powerful figure ascends to similar power seemingly without appropriate qualifications. For example, when U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski, was elected Governor of Alaska, he appointed his daughter, State Representative Lisa Murkowski, to fill the remaining two years of his seat and was accused of nepotism. (Murkowski won reelection on her own in 2004.) John F. Kennedy was accused of nepotism by some for his appointment of his brother Robert Kennedy as Attorney General. Families elsewhere have also dominated politics of their homeland, such as Tun Abdul Razak, the second Prime Minister of Malaysia, and his son, Najib Tun Razak, the current Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Singapore, and his son, Lee Hsien Loong, who recently succeeded Goh Chok Tong as Prime Minister of Singapore. Many countries in Asia have this tilt towards dynastic rule. In India, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has been ruling India for most part since Independence while other people in India have always given preference to their kith and kin in various states in India. Similarly, Syria is supposedly a republic, but has been for intents and purposes an absolute monarchy since Hafez Al-Assad came to power, appointing his son Bashar al-Assad as his heir.
In Romania nepotism is very commonly used as a word describing a 'connection' (relationship) that allows a person to obtain a certain job. 'Nepot' in Romanian means "nephew". During communist rule, nepotism was often the only way of getting a good, well-paid job