All human enterprises eventually become status competitions if allowed to go on long enough.
I’ve seen this occur personally as ideas I’d had on old blogs years ago (mostly related to economics) were lampooned and roundly denigrated, and are now becoming or are already accepted in the mainstream.
If I’d worked at Harvard, the same ideas would’ve been much easier to promulgate.
I’m not bitter. I don’t even really care as I’ve never had the slightest interest as an adult in being an academic.
But when credentials matter more than ideas and results, the entire enterprise is in danger.