...If someone asked your grandparents 50 years ago to name the country’s best colleges, they would have come up with a list that looks very much like the list you’d come up with today. Can you think of any other industry in which that’s the case?
Or go back only to 1983, the year the U.S. News college rankings began, and compare the stability in that ranking with the turnover in the Fortune 500 since then. The top of the 1983 Fortune 500 is filled with companies that don’t exist today (Texaco, Nabisco, Beatrice) or that have been humbled (General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Xerox). See Tyler Cowen for more on this point.
It’s hard to look at this picture and conclude that higher education is a bastion of intense competition. ...