A king with a kind heart once saw a pigeon and an Eagle fighting. He possessed the ability of communicating with the birds and animals. The pigeon asked the king to save him from the eagle. The king told the eagle that he is ready to pay any price in return for saving the pigeon. The eagle asks the king to give him the equal amount of flesh to the weight of the flesh of the pigeon. Agreeing to the Eagle’s condition, the king starts chopping off his own flesh equal to the flesh of the pigeon. After donating a little bit of his flesh, he still finds the pigeon heavier. Finally he surrenders the whole of himself to the Eagle to eat. That is the moment when both the Eagle and the pigeon turn into angels who appeared on the earth to test the extent of the king’s humanity. The king is now rewarded with the most precious rewards and heaven after life for his deed of humanity.
In the 1980s, politicians moved to drive more students into the sciences, seen once again more narrowly as a catalyst to economic growth. In Australia, state funding of higher education as a share of GNP dropped by a third between 1975 and 1985. As state funding declined, state control over remaining funding tightened. The reforms led by Australia’s Labor Education Minister John Dawkins prioritised ‘those fields of study of greatest relevance to the national goals of industrial development and industrial restructuring’. In the UK, the Conservative government also revived human-capital arguments in order to boost science and engineering. Margaret Thatcher’s Education Minister Keith Joseph argued that much current higher-education output was economically valueless, even ‘damaging to the spirit of enterprise’. In the US, where government had fewer levers to control higher education, the advent of neo-liberal governments after 1980 was seen by many commentators to coincide with a new instrumentalism among the student population, which favoured vocational subjects over inspirational ones. The humanities, in particular, were thought to be committing suicide by fighting ‘culture wars’, often in foreign languages (French theory, poststructuralism, identity politics), which only widened the gap between them and the public.