The World Economic Forum kicks off its annual meeting at Davos on Wednesday, but talk is already of a more sober approach among the usually rambunctious delegates. Goldman Sachs has cancelled its party and reduced its headcount, and the large number of Lehmann Brothers, and sisters, that usually stalk the snowy streets will of course be reduced to zero.
The total number of delegates is actually up this year, with more than 2,500 attendees registered. Many will have booked their trip before the slump hit, but plenty will have been drawn by the hope of sipping the magical elixir that will wake them up from the current fiscal nightmare.
Right now the economy provides a particularly pressing backdrop for the annual knocking together of numerate heads. With the global economy going down the toilet, the ideals of the old economic order in tatters, and big names like Gordon Brown, Vladimir Putin and Chinese PM Wen Jiabao in attendance, this year's forum is sure to provide a debate of some urgency.
That said, we're guessing there'll be far fewer private jets parked on Swiss tarmac than usual, and far more bums parked in BA's economy class. Rumours that the Megabus would be laying on a special 'London Victoria to Davos' coach for £3.50, complete with a free copy of the Economist, have yet to be substantiated.
Indeed, it's looking like companies have already begun to offload their more ostentatious transport toys: the value of used business jets up for sale has hit $769m. Jet Republic, the private jet company, estimates that as many as 49 used business jets could be available for sale in the UK. That's over 15% of the total now available for sale in Europe.
If you're somehow lucky enough to have cash to burn, here's an idea: why not buy these planes up, and fly a fleet of private-equity barons to Switzerland to reprise the role of Davos heroes they had a couple of years back. We reckon that'd create a few fireworks...
Heidrick and Struggles' chief executive Kevin Kelly will be blogging exclusively for MT on each day at Davos, starting Thursday.
In today's bulletin:
BSkyB gets 171,000 extra customers for Christmas
Philip Yea quits as 3i portfolio loses £864m
Asda provides ray of cheer with 7,000 new jobs
Car industry no lame duck, insists Lord Mandelson
Rich cool their jets at Davos