Canadian higher education has in the past few years succumbed to a mood of despair and defensiveness. Until just a few years ago, it was characterized by a confident, forward-looking energy, secure in the notion that it was the preeminent engine of national development. Since then, we have seen our relative salaries decline; our plant, equipment, and libraries erode; our jobs threatened; and the value of our contribution to Canadian society severely questioned. A number of explanations could be given for this dramatic reversal of our fortunes, with emphasis ranging from demographics to poor public relations, from economic stagnation to short-sighted political manoeuvering. One popular explanation is that Canadian higher education is now (justly) paying off debts it incurred in a Faustian compact with homo economicus. We financed our tremendous growth of yesteryear, this explanation purports, on promises of contributing substantially (or worse, by ourselves, delivering) unprecedented economic growth and industrial expansion. Now that industrial expansion has come to a standstill (and even declined), the primary case for generous funding of higher education is at best called into question, and at worst severely undermined.