International Seminar Series

Dr. George Hall of Brandeis University will present “Paying for Three World Wars: The First, the Second, and COVID-19” at noon on Wednesday, September 8, as part of the Fall 2021 International Seminar Series, “A New Normal in a Global Context.” Dr. Hall will be speaking in the Prairie Rooms of the Bone Student Center and participants have the option of attending in person or via a Zoom webinar live stream. The event is free, open to the public, and requires advance registration. All university COVID measures in effect at the time of the event will be followed. Those interested in the in-person events are encouraged to register early, as seating is limited.  

Dr. Hall is the Fred C. Hecht Professor of Economics at Brandeis University, where he teaches macroeconomics. His research focuses on the history of U.S. fiscal policy and firm-level inventory and pricing behavior. Prior to joining Brandeis in 2006, he served on the faculty at Yale University and the research staff of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He earned his BA at Oberlin College and his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Chicago. 

According to Hall, to fight the “War on COVID-19,” the U.S. federal government has so far spent $4.6 trillion (or 20 percent of a year’s worth of GDP) and financed this spending almost exclusively by borrowing and printing money. Ultimately this bill will be paid by U.S. taxpayers, U.S. recipients of government spending, and U.S. creditors—both foreign and domestic.

In his talk, Hall will provide an overview of how the U.S. government-financed World Wars I and II through debt and money creation, then attempted to shift the costs across these groups through changes in taxes and inflation for decades afterwards. He will look at lessons learned from the financing of the first two world wars and ask whether the U.S. can, through inflation and other means, shift some of the costs of the War on COVID (i.e., a third world war) to its foreign creditors. If so, what implications would this have for the global role of the U.S. dollar?   

The faculty coordinator for this semester’s series is Dr. T.Y. Wang, University Professor and chair of the Department of Politics and Government, in collaboration with the Office of International Studies and Programs. The international seminar series has become one of the most popular internationally focused events on Illinois State’s campus and continues to provide international perspectives on critical issues around the world. Those who have questions about the event or who need an accommodation to participate fully should contact or call (309) 438-5276.

The event is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required to receive the log-in link.