Nepotism is the granting of jobs to one's relatives or friends in various fields, including business, politics, entertainment, sports, religion and other activities. Nepotism is the act of using one's power to get good jobs or unfair advantages for the members of your family when the members of your family do not deserve it or may not have the right skill, experience or motivation. The term originated with the assignment of nephews to important positions by Catholic popes and bishops. Trading parliamentary employment for favors is a modern-day example of nepotism.[citation needed]

Nepotism refers to partiality to family whereas cronyism refers to partiality to a partner or friend. Favoritism, the broadest of the terms, refers to partiality based upon being part of a favored group, rather than job performance. Favoritism is a part of any human society and the two branches of favoritism are cronyism and nepotism. Situations of nepotism refer to when a politician’s son gets a similar political position in a country, and situations when relatives of high ranking officers get easy positions in their career. This happens despite the relatives lacking the necessary qualifications. Situations of cronyism refer to where someone might get a position in a company since he is a friend of the company CEO. Nepotism and cronyism have negative consequences because the truly qualified and talented people have to face injustices and it eventually leads to corruption and brain drains. Moreover, these three are unethical practices that create social discrimination.[1]

Nepotism has been criticized since the ancient times by several philosophers, including Aristotle, Valluvar, and Confucius. For instance, the ancient Indian philosopher Valluvar condemned nepotism as both evil and unwise.[2]

Origin of the modern concept and etymology

Borrowed from the French term 'Nepotisme', which in turn was derived from Italian 'Nepotismo' and the Latin 'nepōs' (nephews), nepotism refers to the practice of popes appointing relatives during the Middle Age and Renaissance.[3] The term comes from the Italian word nepotismo,[4][5] which is based on the Latin word nepos (nephew).[6]

Since the Middle Ages and until the late 17th century, some Catholic popes and bishops, who had taken vows of chastity and therefore usually had no legitimate offspring of their own, gave their nephews such positions of preference as were often accorded by fathers to sons.[7]

Several popes elevated nephews and other relatives to the cardinalate. Often, such appointments were a means of continuing a papal "dynasty".[8] 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.[9] Alexander then elevated Alessandro Farnese, his mistress's brother, to cardinal; Farnese would later go on to become Pope Paul III.[10]

Paul III also engaged in nepotism, appointing, for instance, two nephews, aged 14 and 16, as cardinals, as well as making efforts to increase the territories of his illegitimate son Pier Luigi Farnese. The practice was finally limited when Pope Innocent XII issued the bull Romanum decet Pontificem, in 1692.[7] 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.[11]