The second Society lecture of 2017/18 will be given on Tuesday 21st November at 6pm at the Warburg Institute by Tom Hockenhull of the British Museum on the title The Currency of Communism. This lecture coincides with and discusses the exhibition, The Currency of Communism, which is on display at the British Museum from 19th October 2017 until 18th March 2018 and supported by The Art Fund. RNS lectures are open to all and a full schedule of the lectures for this year can be found here.
In the century since the Russian Revolution, various pragmatists have attempted to adapt Marxist theory to suit a set of diverse economic and geographic conditions, bringing a form of communism to more than twenty countries around the world. Communism proposes that money is a social construct, and therefore has no role in a utopian society. To date however, no communist state has successfully eliminated money from its economy. Rather, concepts of value and wealth are eroded and distorted, while the national currency becomes just one of several types of exchange, both formal and informal. Coinciding with the British Museum exhibition The Currency of Communism, Tom Hockenhull will discuss various aspects of monetary life under communism, including its function and design.