Academics are naturally attracted to the job security offered by life-long tenure, especially in a constantly shrinking job market. But in order to achieve tenure they are under considerable pressure to compete for the limited number of tenured positions. The academic politics involved in achieving tenure can involve intrigue and disreputable behaviour which is detrimental to the quality of academic life. The process encourages conformity rather than the freedom of thought that it was designed to protect. The pressure to "publish or perish" leads to considerable output but of questionable quality. The tenure system creates a privileged class of workers in an economy in which all jobs are increasingly at risk or the subject of rethinking. Consequently there tends to be an accumulation of uncreative and ineffective academics which the tenure system makes it impossible to remove when appropriate.