A question about public universities?

Question:I read somewhere that

"The purpose of public universities should be to train the appropriate number of people for the professions. In order to fulfill this purpose, the number of students admitted to each field of study should be pre-set . . . so that no more people are trained than will be needed to fill the estimated number of openings in each profession."

-Phyllis Stein

Should public universities pre-set the numbers of students admitted to each field of study so that aren't any impacted professions?

I would like to hear some of your reasons.

Universities should train people in broad thinking skills, so that they may change careers. Additionally, who is to make the decision about how many people should be needed in each profession. This attitude presupposes that bureaucrats or university administrators can foresee the needs of the marketplace years in advance.

This attitude makes a little bit of sense with vocational-type courses like nursing, where the graduates of a program are uniquely qualified for exactly one job. Even there, though, if there were extra nurses being produced, the effect might be to suppress their wages, but to increase the quality and quantity of medical care, and that could still be good for society.
There are market forces in play that kind of do what you are talking about. For example, if dental schools aren't full, possibly because people think there are no jobs, then some dental schools will close.

However, Its very hard for any one university, since each is an independent institution, to implement Phyllis' goal. Let's say that everyone agrees that too many lawyers are being graduated every year. Okay, but will Harvard University reduce the size of their class? I doubt it. First of all, Harvard probably thinks that they are making great lawyers, and that the problem is too many second-rate lawyers.

And who can really say if there are too many lawyers. And maybe it takes a lawyer ten years of practice before they are really good and useful, so people should be looking ten years out to decide if there are too many.

There's a term in economics that is relevant here, but I can't remember what it is. It came up when we discussed farmers.if all the farmers decide to produce watermelons this year, there will be too many watermelons, and the price will go down. But each farmer alone has to make a decision, doesn't know what the others are doing, and doesn't individually effect the market very much.
Do your own homework!!!!

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