In Hong Kong, Inaugural Ceremony focuses on capitalism

At a time of worldwide economic and political upheaval, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business continues to influence the conversation. Chicago Booth marked the inauguration of its Executive MBA Program in Hong Kong with a panel discussion on the future of capitalism—a topic highly relevant to the lightning and political storm that was flashing outside.

Hundreds of alumni, dignitaries, and incoming students gathered on August 31 at one of the grand hotels in Hong Kong, a city at the crossroads of the world’s economies. As a free-market bastion, Hong Kong has long been China's window to international markets. Yet China remains a planned economy with a high level of state enterprise ownership, and its leaders have sharply criticized Western-style capitalism in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.

Adding to the sense of contrast, this particular Sunday also was the inauguration of a protest movement that will "occupy" Hong Kong's central financial district following a decision by Beijing to set narrow parameters for Hong Kong popular elections planned for 2017.

"Hong Kong is a wonderful, thriving society to be part of. If you don't believe me, go outside today," —Cathy Holcombe