Does a word exist for a society or a tendency in which the power source is based on your contacts?

For example: Let us assume that I am applying for a job. I know Joe, the boss, and because of this, he hires me in front of other, more qualified applicants. Then we can say that I am living in a _________.

I am looking for a word similar to oligarchy, meritocracy, and so on.

I assume there is no such word, but I thought it was worth a try here anyway.

  • 2
    With a negative undertone, it's a nepotistic society or you can say it's ruled by cronyism or favouritism. On a more informal level you can also say it's a "jobs for the boys" society . Look up these words in a dictionnary.
    – P. O.
    Sep 22, 2015 at 10:41
  • it's like chaibol culture in Korea...
    – Fattie
    Sep 22, 2015 at 11:59
  • and Guanxi in China.
    – user66974
    Sep 22, 2015 at 12:02

3 Answers 3


Following on from cronyism, you can extend it to:

Crony Capitalism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials.

Crony capitalism is believed to arise when business cronyism and related self-serving behavior by businesses or businesspeople spills over into politics and government, or when self-serving friendships and family ties between businessmen and the government influence the economy and society to the extent that it corrupts public-serving economic and political ideals.

  • Thank you. I should have specified the post better, I was also looking for a word that could be used in a political sense as well. This is perfect!
    – Akitirija
    Sep 22, 2015 at 11:57
  • 3
    just "cronyism" is a single word you can use. and there's the "old boys network" in a more BrE setting.
    – Fattie
    Sep 22, 2015 at 12:00

Connection is the key word to refer to a non-meritocratic society.

  • A person, especially one of influence or importance, with whom one is associated, as by kinship or common interests: used her connections to land a job. .(AHD)
  • I am living in a world where connections are more important than meritocracy

Cronyism , as suggested in a comment, is a useful term, but it is mainly used in political, public contexts:

  • (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the practice of appointing friends to high-level, esp political, posts regardless of their suitability. (Collins)

Collusion, or a secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially in order to cheat or deceive others, could fit the bill (ie "I am [operating] in a state of collusion."). I'd imagine your best bet will end up being a phrase rather than a single word.

  • 2
    Collusion is an interesting term, but I think it has much wider implications than those suggested in the question.
    – user66974
    Sep 22, 2015 at 11:47

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