A place to go where you can hear useless people pontificate on worthless topics. Seriously, all professors went into academia because the real world frightens them. If they actually had to go to a job that helped people or produced a viable product, well, that would just be hard work. I personally think that all professors ought to be replaced with talking sock monkeys.
Fred became a professor at a college because he was too much of an idiot to get a real job.