Nepotism – where would you draw the line?

Thanks to those of you who responded to Peter’s post about nepotism – it’s a subject that cropped up again at our editorial meeting today. And the discussion ranged from “where do you draw the line ?” to confessions from two members of the team that their parents had got them summer jobs when they were younger. It’s certainly a subject that gets people going – do you think it’s something we should cover in the programme?

Nepotism has been in the news here this week with the revelation that one Conservative Party MP, Derek Conway, had paid his son a salary from the public purse while he was a full-time student – and now the leader of the party, David Cameron, has admitted that seventy Conservative MPs employ members of their own families.

Is it natural to give preferential treatment to your relatives? Have you been given a job by someone in the family ? Or have you lost the chance of promotion because of someone else’s favouritism ?

And if you think nepotism is unfair, how would you police it? Should people in public office NEVER be allowed to employ their relatives? Or might this be unfair on talented people who just happen to have kin in the right places?

One regular guest on the programme, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown of the Independent newspaper, says she tries to take a personal stand again nepotism. Would you?

11 Responses to “Nepotism – where would you draw the line?”

  1. 1 Brett
    February 1, 2008 at 13:58

    Nepotism for a general job is not all that bad, it is common nature to have a bond with a family member or close relative. It is also beneficial to already know the person you are hiring and know their background to give a some sense of comfort about not hiring the ‘unknown’.

    Public office is a bit different, a general public may not be best served by members of one or a few families, but by many different members of that public, wth different backgrounds and perhaps different views/ideals/needs.

    I have gotten most of my jobs through friends or people I knew, not quite family. I think that there is a fine line in what is acceptable and what is not. Public office nepotism should be monitored and policed if necessary.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  2. 2 steve
    February 1, 2008 at 14:10

    I certain know in the US Federal government there are rules against Nepotism, however of course if you’re a politicians, you basically are doing the same thing when you appoint your people to office in thanks for supporting your campaign, but fortunately the jobs they fill tend to be temporary in nature and they lose their jobs when there is a new administration. I remember when I first got out of law school, I asked my dad if there was anything he could do to help me jobwise and all he could do was just give me contacts. The economy was very bad, and there were many more applicants than positions, and even having graduating in the top 5% of my law school class, getting jobs was very difficult then. It wasn’t like my dad was trying to hook a dangerously unqualified person up with a job. However, I think it worked out for the best, as I think self reliance is the best thing to make a person function properly in society.

  3. February 1, 2008 at 14:13

    Parents work hard to make life easier for their children and family. That is the point. If it means they get a leg up in a company or occupationi, so be it.

    However, I do feel that Nepotism before it gets to the White House.

  4. 4 John
    February 1, 2008 at 15:14

    Nepotism has been the backbone of politics around the world since politics was invented, and this despite the fact that virtually every blunder made be every government in human history can be traced to someone who was not qualified for the job but got it because of a family connection or a “good ol’ boy” network.
    It’s a wonder we ever invented the wheel.

    John in Salem

  5. 5 viola anderson
    February 1, 2008 at 17:59

    Perhaps the more valuable and difficult the job, the more stringent the rules against nepotism should be.

  6. 6 George USA
    February 1, 2008 at 19:31

    I draw the line on Nepotism exactly at the point where I am not reaping a benefit from it.

  7. 7 Xie_Ming
    February 3, 2008 at 13:28

    In the UK and other relatively free countries, I say let the press expose it and let the voters decide.

    In general, it would be better to reduce the discrepancy between the rhetoric and the reality,

  8. February 3, 2008 at 13:40

    When I was a teen-ager I got a job on a farm from a freind of the family, but I wouldn’t consider it nepotism, because the favor ended right there; I had to work hard at my job, or I’d have been fired just as easily as if the farmer’s son wasn’t my mother’s freind.
    Nepotism is wrong when it hurts the company, and when qualified canidates are passed over for a job by incompetants who just happened to be related to the boss.

  9. February 4, 2008 at 22:45

    Nepotism – has always existed and I am sure always will. It is unfair – and causes bitter resentment when the person on the receiving end of the favour is not up to the job. The thing to do is to make sure that the candidate is up to the job and if they aren’t they move over for someone who is.

  10. May 5, 2009 at 20:31

    i strongly against nepotism because is interfering with fairness people prefer to be hired closed doors than open doors,nepotism is really killing opportunity of gualifying,skillid people

  11. 11 vampychronicles
    October 14, 2009 at 18:41

    One thing that has not yet been touched on that I thought about with the “George H. W. /George W. Bush” example is this: GW would have never gotten into Harvard because he did not have the SAT scores or the GPA. In many cases, the children of those with power and pull are given more ‘opportunities’ where they could not have succeeded on their own. A donation here, funding for a building there and all of a sudden they are at top University in one of the most difficult programs. Nepotism leaves a trail.

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