#27 – The Thought Leader and the Critic

December 23, 2020

This episode explores the rise of self-styled “thought leaders” within the psychedelic community, using Anand Giridharadas’ book “Winners Take All” as a jumping off point. Although people have been on the conference circuit for years, the recent explosion of capital investments means that there’s an unprecedented potential for money, celebrity, and status in the space.

The thought leader proposes quick fixes that are palatable to the people who are in positions of power, who then seek to privatize those “solutions” while enriching themselves along the way. While they talk about leading the way to meaningful change, they’re really just focusing on the symptoms—and getting paid while they’re doing that.

Corporate consulting firms like McKinsey & Co typify this dynamic as they propose “solutions” that do little more than enrich themselves and their corporate paymasters.

While psychedelic “thought leaders” offer up their ideas as solutions to the world’s problems, we take a look at how the “thought leader” cozies up to power under capitalism in a way that perpetuates the status quo.

Co-hosts: Brian Normand, Neşe Devenot, David Nickles, Brian Pace. Editor: Matt Payne


Plus Three goes deep into the world of drugs, from local decriminalization and emerging psychedelic corporations, to leftist politics and mass incarceration. Each week we attempt to make sense of the complex connections between drugs, science, capitalism, policy, and culture.

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