Word Stories # 2 Nepotism

Molivam42's Weblog

Nepotism is the practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs. The word nepotism comes from the Italian nipote, which in turn derives from nepos, the Latin word for grandson or nephew). As you will have seen from my piece about the Borgias, the word originated from the practice of Renaissance popes of conferring important positions to their nephews and grandsons. I have even read that the word was used as a euphemism for an illegitimate son. The practice was finally ended in 1692 when Pope Innocent XII issued the bull Romanum decet Pontificem, prohibiting popes in all times from bestowing estates, offices, or revenues on any relative.

Nepotism can be found politics, entertainment and business, particularly small businesses. Even if you take larger companies you find that a third of the companies in the Fortune 500 are family-controlled firms. Peter…

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