Contreras recently wrote an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education on credentialism. I saw a quotation from it somewhere on this forum. I think it requires a paid subscription to the Chronicle to read it in full. I do not remember the exact reference. The acceditors aren't doing a very good job in my opinion. Í am very suspicious of them. Your point about the difference between a degree as an academic status vs. a job credential is well taken. Degrees originally were a status within a learning society (universitas), awarded after an apprenticeship and performance exams within that universitas. Wider society began to use those marks of status, degrees, as credentials for various professions in law, teaching, church, government and medicine. Gradually, degrees as work credentials in so many other departments of endeavor spead. So now we have degrees that represent not only standing in a univsesity, the original "gradus", but some sort of job credential, as well. In some cases the conflation of the two notions (academic status and job credential) is completely justified--medicine and academics come to mind immediately. In other cases, there is a much more tenuous connection between a degree and a job function. But when the world of work pays by degrees, even when the specific knowledge required for the job is not endowed by the degree, you have an environment ripe for abuse--buying bogus degrees for a hike in pay grade. Does this mean that the abusers are ethically right--no. But neither is an enviroment that encourges such abuse. An analogue: is cheating in school right ?--no, but if there are no proctors for exams, it does encourage the cheating.