Credential inflation is apparently not a new phenomenon:
The popular substitute for advancement from the ranks – a college education for all able young people – is not really acceptable. The abilities which make for scholastic success are not the abilities the enterprise needs. By asking the schoolmaster to pick management, the enterprise will deny itself the very men it needs most: the entrepreneur, the innovator, the risk-taker. The process is also self-defeating. All but the very poorest will go to college and will then expect a managerial position as of right, being too proud for subordinate jobs but unable to find any other. To make the degree the passport to promotion is certain to debauch education; it will become “quickie” training in the latest fad and in readily salable skills. But a free society requires an educational system dedicated to training of character and to the education of leaders.
- The New Society (1950)