If Socrates had been born in contemporary times, what role would he have played in society? Would he have been another Slavoj Žižek? Would he have been another Stephen Hawking? Perhaps most accurately — at least according to a recent rating by Prospect Magazine — one must wonder if he would have been another Russell Brand. For said magazine recently ranked the comedian-turned-activist-author (who, despite bearing the burden of having married — then stopped being married to — the singer of “Ur So Gay“, has admittedly said/done some smart things!) as the fourth most influential thinker in the world. He follows Thomas Piketty, the French economist who focuses on centuries-long wealth inequalities, Yanis Varoufakis, another economist who recently became the Greek finance minister and is helping to restructure Greece’s debt, and Naomi Klein, the vehement corporate globalization critic and author who wrote No Logo.
Here’s the list of thinkers — including Brand:
1. Thomas Piketty, French economist
2. Yanis Varoufakis, Greek finance minister
3. Naomi Klein, Canadian author
4. Russell Brand, UK comedian and campaigner
5. Paul Krugman, US economist
6. Arundhati Roy, Indian writer and activist
7. Jurgen Habermas, German philosopher
8. Daniel Kahneman, US-Israeli psychologist
9. John Gray, UK philosopher
10. Atul Gawande, US surgeon and writer
Prospect wrote of Brand:
Brand is the spiritual leader of Britain’s disaffected anti-capitalist youth…Dismissed by his opponents as a clownish opportunist, he is nevertheless the most charismatic figure on Britain’s populist left.