The next economic disaster zone: High-priced business conferences

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A reader writes:

I attended the FT’s (heavily advertised) “View from the Top” conference in New York on Tuesday, at the high-end Four Seasons Hotel, where the admission fee was $1,900 (I passed myself off as a journalist to secure admission for $0). Expecting a large conference hall, instead I was ushered into a rather small (and windowless) meeting room, which was only about half full. If you counted all the people who were speaking (and thus not paying to attend), and added them to the journalists in the room, I wonder if there were 25 people who paid the rack rate. Given the far-less-than-scintillating nature of many of the presentations – Niall Ferguson a notable exception – I questioned the value of spending a day holed up, even if I hadn’t paid to attend. Had I paid the rack rate, I almost certainly would have demanded a partial refund.

Horrors! Does this mean I have to scotch my plans for a $150-a-head Curious Capitalist View from the Circle Line booze cruise around Manhattan?