Profs and Pints DC presents: “The Economic History of Inflation,” with Trevor Jackson, assistant professor of economic history at George Washington University.
From the Federal Reserve to the grocery store, inflation is on everyone's mind, having risen to 8.6 percent in May. That increase was higher than policymakers expected and the highest it has been in the United States since 1982, and it has left many Americans anxious and wondering what all of this means, and what to do. Everyone wants to know if this inflation is transitory or permanent, a crisis or a sign of growth.
Come gain some valuable historical perspective with this talk by Trevor Jackson, an economic historian who previously has given excellent Profs and Pints talks on past economic crises and history’s biggest financial scandals.
Opponents of government spending often warn that hyperinflation—a sudden disaster when inflation runs to hundreds or thousands or even millions of percent—is just around the corner. The history of inflation and deflation tells us that the risks involved with entering such a period can be very high.
To help figure out how real the risks currently are, and what to expect if they come to pass, Dr. Jackson will discuss three periods of hyperinflation in the past.
He’ll start by looking at one of the world’s first periods of hyperinflation, the French Revolution, when the Reign of Terror experimented with paper money backed by confiscated land and the French paid a heavy price for the move.
Then he’ll then examine at the most famous bout of hyperinflation in history, that of Germany in the 1920s, when it supposedly took a wheelbarrow full of cash to buy a loaf of bread.
Finally, he’ll move ahead to a period many Americans still remember and some policymakers remain obsessed with, the "stagflation" of the 1970s, a decade-long economic crisis marked by high inflation and low growth operating in tandem in defiance of decades of economic wisdom.
What do these cases tell us about what to expect? Dr. Jackson will help give our current debates some much-needed perspective. Given inflation and the potential economic risks ahead, this chance to learn from him is well worth the cost of your ticket. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, or $13 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.)