Top definition
Clientism: the cultivation of dependent client groups, who in exchange for freebies (usually granted from public funds) can be counted on to tout the Provider's cause at critical moments.
A politcal chief gives freebies (like free TV for all those below poverty line) to cultivate a client-support base that will support him/her at critial moments.

The ongoing tussle between "red shirts" and "yellow shirts" in Thailand is a good example of two opposing factions created by clientism.
by Poligar May 06, 2010
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