What Good is Higher Education?

On the one hand, the conventional and traditional position of the good of higher education is defended against the current wave of anti-higher-education chatter.

On the other hand, there are two pretty persuasive types of arguments against higher education as it is done today:

(1) Economics: it costs too much, and the money is used only to increase the university's prestige rather than better education.

(2) Useless research: instead of citing mainstream media on this, see instead this researcher's commentary (pdf) on systems software research, and this on Realtime Linux: academia v. reality as prime examples.

But actually, what bothers me more is the job prospects in higher education.  Here's a professor wanting to convince students to not become a scientist.  Here's noting that science doesn't pay. The chatter on what it's like to work in academia doesn't sound all too pleasing either.

It's a legitimate question: what good is higher education?

(Edit: and I answer it in Higher Education is like Traveling!)

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