... being threatened by the internet. According to Eric Raymond, academe is next: Rising From the Stalinist Ashes Like the University of Phoenix. (Via Instapundit.)
The open-source movement wasn't possible when programming required a million-dollar mainframe. Million-dollar mainframes require big capital concentrations, which require lots of managers to run 'em. When the PC and the Internet arrived, computation and communication costs plummeted towards zero. The need for big capital concentrations to support software development almost (though not entirely) vanished. An increase in the relative power of programmers followed as the night the day.
University campuses, school buildings, laboratories—these are academia's equivalent of the million-dollar mainframe. We probably can't disaggregate campuses entirely (time-shares in a cyclotron, anyone?) but to the extent the Internet helps us break apart these institutional lumps and make a more fluid market, the actual human producers will regain power over their craft.