Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Privilege, Friendship, and Cronyism

I've been recently thinking about old boys networks, cronyism, and the privileges people give their friends that they wouldn't give a stranger. I'm convinced that these are all part of the same thing -- people tend to like being surrounded by familiar people they can identify with, so they pass favours around to ensure that friends and their family are in positions similar to theirs. This serves a lot of pragmatic purposes, but it also leads to the beginnings of a class structure (perhaps it originally may have been the foundations for nobility). I believe that there may be a certain amount of utility in having teams composed of friends, but this utility may not be worth the social costs involved. I ask you, my lj audience:

1) Can you think of any additional purposes/justifications for friend privileges?
2) Are there any principled differences between doing this on a large scale (e.g. Rotary clubs and other cohesive social networking) and a small scale (passing job hints on to others in a circle of friends)? What if one were to take a job as head of a business/government and bring a large, preselected bunch of people with one to fill key positions?
3) Would it be better to mandate that job skill be the only criterion for consideration? Is that too narrow? What if, for example, one could hire idiot savants to do the functions of a company, who were all brilliant at their job but almost nonfunctional as a human being (or austistic) outside of it?
4) What other problems are there with old boys networks and the like?
5) What's the best way to dismantle them?

Any other comments are, of course, welcome. It doesn't matter who you are or why you're reading my lj -- comment on it if you have something to say.

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