I probably need to wear an asbestos suit after posting this essay.

A few years spent working in a corporate or government setting would benefit professors by giving them first-hand knowledge of organizational behavior and politics in practice. I think that both our society and our universities would be improved if professors were required to spend a few years taking Real World 101.

UPDATE: Thinking along similar lines was Ben Stein.

Once someone has to get up in the morning, clean up, get dressed, spend the day at work, and live off the pittance he makes, the whole world becomes different. You look at loafers and bums totally differently. You look at taxes differently. You look at a country that gives you opportunity differently. In the workplace, a very rapid maturation takes place for most. Back at the university, where professors have tenure and only have to teach a few hours a week, the situation worsens. The faculty becomes like a black hole in space, a death star that gets ever darker and denser. The faculty is a leisure/intellectual class that never has to grow up and can cling to its fear and its childish loathing of the grownups out in the big wide world forever. But like all black holes, it threatens to crash in upon itself constantly.

For Discussion. Would my proposal make the economy less efficient by over-ruling the comparative advantage that professors have in the academy? Let the flaming begin.