Davos Man, the entity coined by Samuel Huntington, is in crisis. In fact he is on a life support system with the lifeline on its screen rapidly approaching horizontal. As brain functions sequentially close down, Davos Man is exhibiting symptoms of disorientation, fear and bafflement. Davos has reverted to its late 19th-century function as a sanatorium town: the former Masters of the Universe are now psychiatric patients. In reality, they always were; but now the fact is beyond concealment.

Pity Davos Man: even the timing of this year’s WEF jamboree has contributed to his sense of crisis, with Davos a derided parenthesis bracketed between Theresa May’s Bye-Bye Single Market speech and Donald Trump’s inauguration as 45th President of the United States. Only habit and hospitality caused the media to pay any attention to a huddle of busted flushes sandwiched between such portents of a future they totally failed to predict in all their navel-gazing seminars.

If you wanted an epitome of everything that is wrong with Bastard Capitalism (on the analogy of the previous historical phenomenon of Bastard Feudalism) you could not look for a better example than the WEF junket. What would Adam Smith have thought of the proceedings at this ski resort in the years since 1971? Would he have recognized it as in any way related to capitalism? Despite the routine proclamation by disinherited Marxists and Corbynistas, whose own economic prescriptions have hardly prospered, of the “crisis of capitalism”, in the closing decades of the 20th century free but regulated markets brought one billion human beings out of poverty.

There is no comparable material achievement in world history. It tells us how precious markets are to mankind’s material development – always provided it is not at the expense of spiritual and cultural values, though there is no need for it to be so. But capitalism has fallen into the wrong hands. It was hijacked by speculators rather than investors. Greed replaced legitimate remuneration. The world economy began to resemble a nuclear power plant in meltdown.

All of this bypassed the attention of the wise men of Davos. As fleets of Gulfstreams creating carbon footprints larger than the Yeti’s ferried them to charlatan colloquia on global warming, their real preoccupations were the parties, the ice swans, the aggressive, vulgar extravagance that was a virility symbol. The pecking order, symbolized by different coloured badges permitting graduated access to events, was hierarchic to a degree Louis XIV would have thought excessive.

But for all this ostentatious exclusivism, the WEF made the fatal mistake of including the politicians and cosying up to them. The toxic intrusion of the generation of politicos that has alienated the populations of two continents doomed Davos. The supposed guardians of free markets began to seek the favour of cultural Marxists and to reconfigure capitalism to the demands of the state.

Take a British example. In 2010 David Cameron appointed the Labour peer Lord Davies of Abersoch to report on how companies could be made to appoint more women directors. Under threat of legislated quotas, companies scrambled to appoint women under voluntary quotas. The problem is quotas: nothing is more inimical to free-market capitalism than social engineering. The only criterion for appointment to boards should be finding the best possible candidate: if that results in an all-female board, fair enough, but stakeholders’ interests demand merit should be the sole consideration.

But by this time Davos Man was in the pocket of government. PC virtue-signalling displaced financial priorities. Davosguff now embraced Gender, Climate and every other PC distraction. Capitalism’s worst enemy, the politician, had been invited into the boardroom. In corollary, whatever economic insights Davos had once provided deserted its counsels.

While attendees were (wrongly) predicting 3D printing as the future, a world recession crept up on them unseen. While attendees were swinging by the Congress Centre to discover Angelina Jolie’s take on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, they totally failed to foresee Brexit and Donald Trump, phenomena of which they themselves were among the chief causes.

And so we come to Davos 2017, a scene to which only the brush of Hieronymus Bosch could do justice. The hero of the hour, at this gathering of capitalist leaders, is the Chairman of the Communist Party of China. He came to denounce protectionism though his solution to a bear market is to close down stock exchanges. Then Theresa No-Mates rained on the parade by embracing “hard” Brexit and describing Davos men as “citizens of nowhere”. A sensation of nightmare began to engulf the delegates. The meeting’s keynote address was delivered by Vice-President Joe Biden who, appropriately, had 48 hours left in office.

Then all the consensual disciplines began to unravel. Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands, said: “The whole idea of an ever-closer Europe has gone, it’s buried.” This infuriated Martin Schulz, president of the EU parliament, who attacked Rutte fiercely. Then, like a saloon brawl in a John Wayne film, the left-wing Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz had a square go at Jean-Claude Juncker for demonising Brexit supporters as “extremists” and said that if the euro currency could not be made to work it should be ditched.

Then came the ultimate blasphemy, the Davos equivalent of Lucifer’s “I will not serve.” A second Nobel Laureate economist, Angus Deaton, said the unsayable: “Breaking up the European Union would certainly help, even though it would do a lot of other bad stuff.”

Just for the record, the theme of this WEF meeting was “Responsive and Responsible Leadership”. As the dazed attendees stumbled aboard their departing Gulfstreams, the world’s media were giving continent-to-continent coverage of Donald Trump’s inauguration – the antithesis of everything Davos Man represented. Goodbye, gentlemen, have a good flight – to the dustbin of history.