Cronyism

Cronyism is the practice of partiality in awarding jobs and other advantages to friends or trusted colleagues, especially in politics and between politicians and supportive organizations.[1] For instance, this includes appointing "cronies" to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications.[2]

Cronyism exists when the appointer and the beneficiary such as an appointee are in social or business contact. Often, the appointer needs support in his or her own proposal, job or position of authority, and for this reason the appointer appoints individuals who will not try to weaken his or her proposals, vote against issues, or express views contrary to those of the appointer.

Politically, "cronyism" is derogatorily used to imply buying and selling favors, such as: votes in legislative bodies, as doing favors to organizations, giving desirable ambassadorships to exotic places, etc.[3] Whereas cronyism refers to partiality to a partner or friend, nepotism is the granting of favour to relatives.[4]

Etymology[edit]

The word "crony" first appeared in 17th-century London, according to the Oxford English Dictionary and is believed to be derived from the Greek word chronios (χρόνιος), meaning "long term".[5]

A less likely but oft-quoted source is the supposed Irish term Comh-Roghna, which translates as "close pals", or mutual friends.[6]

Concept[edit]

Government officials are particularly susceptible to accusations of cronyism, as they spend taxpayers' money. Many democratic governments are encouraged to practice administrative transparency in accounting and contracting, however, there often is no clear delineation of when an appointment to government office is "cronyism".[7]

In the private sector, cronyism exists in organizations, often termed "the old boys' club" or "the golden circle", again the boundary between cronyism and "networking" is difficult to delineate.[8]

It is not unusual for a politician to surround him- or herself with highly qualified subordinates, and to develop social, business, or political friendships leading to the appointment to office of friends, likewise in granting government contracts. In fact, the counsel of such friends is why the officeholder successfully obtained his or her powerful position; therefore, cronyism usually is easier to perceive than to demonstrate and prove[citation needed][original research?]. Politicians with representatives of business, other special interests, as unions and professional organizations get "crony-business" done in political agreements, especially by "reasonable" and lucrative honorariums to the politician for making speeches, or by legal donations to ones election campaign or to ones political party, etc.[citation needed][original research?]

Cronyism describes relationships existing among mutual acquaintances in private organizations where business, business information, and social interaction are exchanged among influential personnel. This is termed crony capitalism, and is an ethical breach of the principles of the market economy; in advanced economies, crony capitalism is a breach of market regulations.

Given crony capitalism's nature, these dishonest business practices are frequently (yet not exclusively) found in societies with ineffective legal systems. Consequently, there is an impetus upon the legislative branch of a government to ensure enforcement of the legal code capable of addressing and redressing private party manipulation of the economy by the involved businessmen and their government cronies.

The economic and social costs of cronyism are paid by society. Those costs are in the form of reduced business opportunity for the majority of the population, reduced competition in the market place, inflated consumer goods prices, decreased economic performance, inefficient business investment cycles, reduced motivation in affected organizations, and the diminution of economically productive activity.[8] A practical cost of cronyism manifests in the poor workmanship of public and private community projects.

Cronyism is self-perpetuating; cronyism then begets a culture of cronyism. This can only be apprehended by a comprehensive, effective, and enforced legal code, with empowered government agencies which can effect prosecutions in the courts.

Some instances of cronyism are readily transparent. As to others, it is only in hindsight that the qualifications of the alleged "crony" must be evaluated. All appointments that are suspected of being cronyism are controversial. The appointed party may choose to either suppress disquiet or ignore it, depending upon the society's level of freedom of expression and individual personal liberty.

Examples[edit]

A recent example can be found in political activity in South Carolina, particularly in relation to Governor Henry McMaster, who initially gained his position after becoming the first high-level state official to endorse current President Donald Trump and subsequently rose from lieutenant governor to governor of the state when President Trump appointed Nikki Haley to be the United States ambassador to the United Nations in November 2016.[9][10] On July 9, 2019, Governor McMaster would then go on to attempt to force a vote for the President of the University of South Carolina ahead of schedule and for the benefit of his favorite candidate, Robert Caslen Jr., former superintendent of West Point Academy who was favored by President Trump and previously interviewed by the Trump administration for the position of National Security Advisor.[11][12] Less than two weeks later, in spite of protestation from a majority of the student body, alumni, and major donors, the vote was cast in favor of Caslen on July 19, 2019.[13]

The Russian president Vladimir Putin is alleged to be the "head of the clan",[14] whose assets are estimated at $200 billion.[15][16] A list of Russian and Ukrainian politicians associated with "kleptocractic style" has been published by the Kleptocracy Archives project.[17]

U.S. President Donald Trump assigned at least five members of his private golf clubs to choice government jobs such as ambassadorships. This is the first time in modern history that a president has rewarded people with jobs that paid money to his own companies.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "cronyism American English definition and synonyms - Macmillan Dictionary".
  2. ^ "the definition of cronyism".
  3. ^ Daniel Garza (March 12, 2012). "Government Cronyism is Back". Archived from the original on 8 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  4. ^ Judy Nadler and Miriam Schulman. "Favoritism, Cronyism, and Nepotism". Santa Clara University. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Oxford Dictionaries - Dictionary, Thesaurus, & Grammar". Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Definition". askdefine.com. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  7. ^ https://www.ced.org/cronycapitalism CED.com, official website of The Committee for Economic Development (CED), "Crony Capitalism: Unhealthy Relations Between Business and Government"
  8. ^ a b Staff (2010). "Do Old Boys' Clubs Make The Market More Efficient?". The Free Marketeers. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  9. ^ Delreal, Jose (January 7, 2016). "Trump picks up endorsement from S.C. Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  10. ^ "Trump names Nikki Haley as UN ambassador". BBC. November 23, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  11. ^ Lucy, Catherine (February 18, 2017). "Trump interviewing McMaster, West Point superintendent Caslen and others for security job". Military Times. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  12. ^ Daprile, Lucas (July 9, 2019). "McMaster forces vote on controversial USC presidential finalist while students are away". The State. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  13. ^ "Robert Caslen picked as new University of South Carolina president". WLTX19. 19 July 2019. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  14. ^ Luke Harding. "WikiLeaks cables condemn Russia as 'mafia state'". the Guardian.
  15. ^ "Putin's judo cronies put lock on billions in riches - The Sunday Times". thesundaytimes.co.uk.
  16. ^ Dawisha, Karen (2014). Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781476795195.
  17. ^ "Individuals – Kleptocracy Archive". kleptocracyarchive.org. Archived from the original on 2016-05-18. Retrieved 2016-05-22.
  18. ^ Schouten, Frank, et al

Further reading[edit]

  • Begley, T., Khatri, N., Tsang, EWK. 2010. Networks and cronyism: A social exchange analysis. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 27: 281-297.
  • Bryce, Robert. 2004. "Cronies: Oil, The Bushes, And The Rise of Texas, America's Superstate".
  • Khatri, N., Tsang, E.W.K., & Begley, T. 2006. Cronyism: A cross-cultural analysis. Journal of International Business Studies, 37(1): 61-75. [Also in T. G. Andrews and R. Mead (Eds.), Cross Cultural Management, Volume 2 -The Impact of Culture 1: 126-150. Routledge, UK.]
  • Khatri, N., Tsang, E.W.K., & Begley, T. 2003. Cronyism: The downside of social networking. The Best Papers Proceedings of the Academy of Management, Seattle.
  • Khatri, N. & Tsang, E.W.K. 2003. Antecedents and consequences of cronyism in organizations. Journal of Business Ethics, 43: 289-303.

External links[edit]