There is mainly one reason why people want degrees, to have a job. There is mainly one reason why employers want to look at ones’ degree. To guess whether this person can do the job or not.
A degree signals that a person is capable to do a job. Also, most degree granting institution provide courses that makes people capable to do jobs.
As anything in economy, the most efficient ways to accomplish things tend to proliferate. Say I am buying a pencil. Say a pencil producers insist on mixing the lead in the pencil with gold. The process will make their pencils more expensive. To stay in biz, the producers will need to raise the price of that pencil. That will deter consumers from buying pencils.
Along time ago there was a general named Xiang Yu. He leads Chu’s army to attack Qin on late short lived Qin dynasty.
Xiang Yu then burned his ship. Then he fights the Qin army. Luck would have it, the prime minister of Qin has killed the Qin’s emperor. Hence the Qin’s general knows that he no longer has anyone to be loyal too.
Hence, the Qin gave up. Xiang Yu then easily slaughtered the prisoner of war.