Nepotism has its pros and cons. What happens if a family just happens to be talented? Where do we draw the line? The pros are that having the right name is like a premium brand – and is expected to deliver superior service. On the downside – anti-corruption and nepotism/cronyism/favoritism do not mix.
What is Nepotism
First let us define our terms so we are all on the same page. Here’s one definition:
“hiring one’s own family members, or it can mean hiring and advancing unqualified or under-qualified family members based simply on the familial relationship. The word nepotism stems from the Latin word for “nephew,” especially the nephews of the prelates in medieval times.
It is also defined by Wikipedia as
“favoritism granted to relatives or friends, with no regard to merit. The word nepotism is from the Latin word nepos (meaning “nephew” or “grandchild”).
Nepotism gained its name after the church practice in the Middle Ages, when some Catholic popes and bishops, who had taken vows of chastity, and therefore usually had no children of their own, gave their nephews such positions of preference as were often accorded by fathers to son.
Several popes elevated nephews and other relatives to the cardinalate. Often, such appointments were a means of continuing a papal “dynasty”.
For instance, Pope Callixtus III, head 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. Alexander then 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, as cardinals. The practice was finally ended when Pope Innocent XII issued the bull Romanum decet Pontificem, 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.
The term nepotism is derived from the Latin word for grandson or nephew. It is related to the English word nephew, which comes from Latin via Old French, (http://www.dictionary.com). Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (Merriam-Webster, 2000) defines nepotism as favoritism shown to nephews and other relatives, by giving them positions because of their relationship rather than their competencies.
Most of the literature suggests that large firms are more likely to hire relatives as employees than are smaller firms. However, some researchers believe that nepotism is dominant in smaller firms in less developed countries (Hayajenh, Maghraki, & Al-Dabbagh, 1994; Williams & Laker, 2005).
Cronyism is defined as giving preference to politicians’ particularly to cronies (close friends of long standing), especially as evidenced in the appointment of hangers-on to office without regard to their qualifications.
Favoritism means the provision of special privilege to friends, colleagues and acquaintances, in the areas of employment, career and personnel decisions.
Cronyism and favoritism are hard to control, especially in cultures that place a high value on interpersonal relations (http//www.citadel.edu/citadel) particularly to cronies (close friend of long standing), especially as evidenced in the appointment of political hangers-on to office without regard to their qualifications (Ashour, 2004).
Nepotism, cronyism, and favoritism easily penetrate and corrupt decisions and practices.
In small states, improving performance and credibility requires a comprehensive but well-orchestrated institutional reform that combats corruption and frees up the latent potential of these organizations, redirecting their practices to serve developmental ends. Serving these ends requires competent, professional and ethically strong company staff. As also mentioned by several researchers like Ford and McLaughlin (1986), nepotism has both positive and negative effects on employee and customer satisfaction levels.
Are there too many Abads in key positions in government?
Given the recent headlines about the Abads.
“INQUIRER – MANILA, Philippines—Despite the furor over the Abad family holding key positions in the financial bureaucracy, the ruling Liberal Party is standing pat on naming Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad senior vice chair of the House appropriations committee.Two Liberal Party leaders—Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Quezon Rep. Joseph E.A. Abaya—Tuesday said the party found nothing improper in naming Henedina to a key position in the committee which crafts the annual government budget
Henedina is the wife of Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad Jr. and the mother of Presidential Management Staff chief Julia Abad and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima’s chief of staff Luis Abad.”
We cannot accuse the Abads of nepotism because they are clearly qualified.
We cannot accuse the Abads as cronies either because based on the prior definitions – the Abads are qualified.
Favoritism, however, seems more appropriate to the situation.
These positions, I presume, are subject to the President’s discretion and therefore – it has got nothing to do with the Abads.
The Abads are correct in saying that it is Pres. Benigno Aquino III ‘s call to make.
And so P-Noy made the call.
I have no doubt the Abads will perform. I have no doubt they are qualified. Having a lot of Abads in key positions says a lot about the trust and confidence that Noynoy has in the Abads. They all have good intentions – I got that part, I salute them and wish them well. After all, is it really their fault if they are a family of achievers? I can relate to that.
Although, I find it hard to believe that out of the 90 million or so individuals in the Philippines gene pool – the Abads are the only achievers in town and that no one can do a better job and is more honest and are spread out among different families – instead of just one.
The appointment of kamag-anaks of powerful figures is similar to the fedual marriages between families of different tribes/clans. These arrangements give powerful members of the legislative and the judiciary vested interests in an administration’s success.
These officials can find solace in a new book by Adam Bellow, “In Praise of Nepotism.” The book defends the preferential treatment based on family connections, he argues that society benefits from family dynasties, which tend to stabilize government. He also believes that having famous names is like buying a premium brand or trademark.
Bellow argues that the descendants of leaders are likely to be more talented and dedicated — an assumption of DNA superiority that borders on eugenics. Just remember though that in the Philippines – it has turned to be pretty much more of the same.
Lord Acton’s Dictum – Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely
THis dictum has quite a history to it. And has as its beginnings – the questioning of the Pope’s infallibility.
John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton, KCVO, DL (10 January 1834 – 19 June 1902), known as Sir John Dalberg-Acton, 8th Bt from 1837 to 1869 and usually referred to simply as Lord Acton, was an English historian, the only son of Sir Ferdinand Dalberg-Acton, 7th Baronet and grandson of the Neapolitan admiral, Sir John Acton, 6th Baronet. He was born in Naples. (Wikipedia)
“Lord Acton’s dictum”
In 1870 came the great crisis in Roman Catholicism over Pope Pius IX’s promulgation of the doctrine of papal infallibility. Lord Acton, who was in complete sympathy on this subject with Döllinger, went to Rome in order to throw all his influence against it, but the step he so much dreaded was not to be averted. The Old Catholic separation followed, but Acton did not personally join the seceders, and the authorities prudently refrained from forcing the hands of so competent and influential an English layman. It was in this context that, in a letter he wrote to scholar and ecclesiastic Mandell Creighton, dated April 1887, Acton made his most famous pronouncement:
“I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or certainty of corruption by full authority. There is no worse heresy than the fact that the office sanctifies the holder of it. “
Noynoy can do no wrong. Noynoy is infallible. He is not wrong on the Abads’ Appointments. His choice is excellent.
One can only “hope” he is right.
There are more appointments to be made – more families to appoint. Let’s see who wins the yellow lottery next.
What do YOU Think?
Take a cue from Gordon – the preferred brand name in Olongapo. 😈
So has it boiled down to this – DYNASTY vs DYNASTY? Maybe?
Oligarchy vs Oligarchy? But.. Gordon isn’t an oligarch – upper middle-class perhaps.
The masses are damned? Philippines is damned? 😆
At any rate, I remember riding a cab with a schoolmate, she said – “it’s not about being the right one, it’s about BECOMING the right one” 😉
Whatever that means.