Anti-capitalist ‘comedian’ Russell Brand has been named the world’s fourth most important thinker by readers of Prospect Magazine, beating Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy, author of The God of Small Things and UK Philosopher John Gray in a list dominated by left wingers, the Telegraph reports.
Brand, who has appeared on Newsnight and Question Time, was said by the magazine to be “the spiritual leader of Britain’s disaffected anti-capitalist youth”, adding: “Dismissed by his opponents as a clownish opportunist, he is nevertheless the most charismatic figure on Britain’s populist left.”
In 2013 during an interview with Jeremy Paxman, millionaire Brand encouraged the British electorate not to vote and endorsed a system based on ‘massive redistribution of wealth’.
His views were rounded on from across the political spectrum, with people criticising his call for disenfranchising young voters when they are already suffering because of their apathy, particularly with the scramble for political parties to win the support of older people, who do vote.
In an interview for New Humanist magazine, film maker Adam Curtis questioned Brand’s thinking, asking: “Who benefits from that? The unelected powerful, because you’re emotionally and psychologically disempowering politicians. The only power politicians have is the collective confidence we have in them. The most radical thing is to recapture the idea you can change the world.”
Brand was also left embarrassed after participating in a protest against rents in East London where he was questioned by Channel 4 over the value of the house he rents and had to be rescued by a member of the protest to divert attention away from what the presenter called ‘him being part of the problem’.
He has also published a book called Revolution, which was slammed by John Lydon – aka Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols – in an interview with Polly Toynbee of the Guardian. He said that Brand’s suggestion that people should abstain from voting was “the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard”.
In a November 2014 YouGov poll, involving a selection of celebrities, Brand was chosen as the one with the most negative influences on political debate (46%). The poll also found that 60% of poll participants disliked him and 28% liked him.
During a stunt outside the offices of RBS to complain about the company’s payment structure and employment incentives, Brand incurred the anger of a member of staff who said the bouffanted leftie was using “manipulative media bullshit” to attack capitalism when all door banging and catcalling really was “is that you don’t have an appointment.”
Topping the list was French economist Thomas Piketty whose book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, claims that capitalism and the rate of return with respect to economic growth will only cause wealth inequality to increase in the future.
Prospect said it was “striking” that several of its top 10 ‘thinkers’ were “broadly speaking on the political left” including radical left winger Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek Finance Minister and former economic advisor of the country’s first socialist Prime Minister George Papandreou.
Prospect magazine’s full top 10 world thinkers:
1. Thomas Piketty, French economist.
2. Yanis Varoufakis, Greek finance minister.
3. Naomi Klein, US 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.