Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ich bin stark! Wer ist am stärksten?

The Most Powerful People on Earth 2010
by Nicole Perlroth and Michael Noer • Wednesday, November 3, 2010

There are 6.8 billion people on the planet.

-- >These are the 68 who matter.

We are fascinated by power. We stand in awe of those who apply it adroitly — and in fear of those who abuse it. We lust for power. Everyone would rather be a hammer than a nail.

The people on this list were chosen because, in various ways, they bend the world to their will. They are heads of state, major religious figures, entrepreneurs and outlaws. Comparing the relative power of such a diverse group is slippery business.

To do it, we defined power in four dimensions. First, we asked if a person has influence over a lot of people. For heads-of-state we looked at population, for religious figures we measured the size of their flocks, for CEOs we counted their employees and for media figures we considered the size of their audience.

Second, we checked to see if they have significant financial resources relative to their peers. This meant comparing GDP for political leaders, net worth for billionaires and their ranking on the Forbes Global 2000 for CEOs. The Global 2000 lists the largest companies in the world based on a composite of market capitalization, assets, sales and profits.

Then we determined if they were powerful in multiple spheres, awarding bonus points for those who can project their power many ways. Silvio Berlusconi (No. 14), for instance, got a big boost for not only being the prime minister of Italy, but because he is also a billionaire media mogul who owns soccer team, AC Milan.

Finally we insisted that they actively wield their power. This eliminated some the richest people in the world, including Ingvar Kamprad, the billionaire founder of Ikea and the descendants of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton.

We culled an initial suspect list of over 100 names to 75 and then asked seven Forbes editors to rank them in all four categories. Those ranks were averaged to produce the final list. Obviously our rankings are not intended to be definitive; they are meant to spark a conversation, even an argument or two.

They certainly produced some surprises. The editors picked Hu Jintao, the president of the People's Republic of China as the world's most powerful man, ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama (No. 2). Julian Assange (No. 68), the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, snuck onto the list in last place, while many traditional media types, including Mark Thompson, the Director-General of the BBC, fell off altogether. In a clear sign of the times, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (No. 40) ranked a full ten spots higher than Bill Keller (No. 50, the Executive Editor of the New York Times.

Power can be used for good or ill and three criminals made the list this year: al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden (No. 57), Joaquin Guzman (No. 60), the billionaire drug trafficker who heads Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel and Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar (No. 63), who runs a vast criminal enterprise in India and who is thought to have a hand in the 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai which killed 174.

These rankings are not meant to justify or glorify these odious men. They simply reflect reality.


#1 Hu Jintao

Age: 67 Title: President Residence: Beijing
Country of citizenship: China
Exercises near dictatorial control over 1.3 billion people, one-fifth of world's population. Unlike Western counterparts, Hu can divert rivers, build cities, jail dissidents and censor Internet without meddling from pesky bureaucrats, courts.

#2 Barack Obama

Age: 49 Title: President Residence: Washington, DC
Country of citizenship: United States

Suffered a mighty blow in U.S. midterm elections; can take comfort in the fact that he

remains commander-in-chief of world's largest, deadliest military, leader of world's largest (in spending) economy, and holds the unofficial title of "Leader of the Free World.

#3 Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud

Age: 86 Title: King Residence: Riyadh
Country of citizenship: Saudi Arabia

Absolute ruler of desert kingdom that contains the world's largest crude oil reserves, one-fifth of planet's known supply; two holiest sites in Islam.

#4 Vladimir Putin Age: 57 Title: Prime Minister

Residence: Moscow Country of citizenship: Russia

Prime Minister still more powerful than his handpicked head-of-state, President Dmitry Medvedev; has final say over one-ninth of Earth's land area, vast energy and mineral resources.

#5 Pope Benedict XVI

Age: 83 Title: Pope
Residence: Vatican City Country of citizenship: Germany

Highest earthly authority for 1.1 billion souls, or one-sixth of world's populatio n. Staunch traditionalist deplores secularism, consumerism and moral relativism. Increasingly willing to tackle issue head on: "Forgiveness does not substitute for justice." Stylish: Has brought back traditional red, custom-made "pope shoes" and old-school Ecclesiastical headgear.

#6 Angela Merkel

"Most powerful woman on the planet!"

Age: 56 • Title: Chancellor Residence: Berlin

Country of citizenship: Germany Marital Status: Married

Chancellor of Germany oversees Europe's largest economy. Renowned free-market champion and favorite of big business, boasts nine public companies with annual sales in excess of $70 billion. In all, there are 57 German companies on the Forbes Global 2000 ranking of the world's largest public companies, with aggregate sales of $1.7 trillion.

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  1. That is interesting how the Pope is the 5th powerful person. Also i found cool how the chancellor from Germany is the 6th most powerful person in the world.

  2. There's no surprise that china is number one. Also, the pope apparently has more power than the chancellor of Germany. I wonder how the author concluded that.

  3. I think it's awesome that Angela Merkel is the most powerful woman in the world! And the position certainly wasn't handed to her..she most definitely had to work for it. I think there are some conflicting opinions about her among the people in Germany, because I remember that when I was there, my host family was not a big fan of her. But the fact that she is considered the most powerful woman in the world really says alot about Germany!

    -Katie Matley

  4. I guess I shoudln't be surpised that Obamas up there. He IS the president of the united states and he DOES weather we like it or not a very important figure in the world being one of the worlds leaders.

  5. Wow who knew the prime minister of Russia was in the top 6 most powerful people in the world?? And it's amazing that a woman is in the 6 most powerful, too.

  6. Felix! that's a sexist comment... haha. I was surprised to see Obama, actually, since he's only been in power for less than a year!

    -Die Teufelin

  7. Sounds about right; Most powerful man is a near dictator of China, Obama is second-most powerful because of the responsibility he has taken to clean up America of its debt and whatnot, Russia's prime minister is also not a big surprise. Seeing how powerful Russia is itself and how how our [America's] relationship with Russia is 'get along to go along'. That's pretty big that Angela is up there; good for her! she is among very powerful men in this world.

  8. I think this is just me but I find it funny that all of the world's most powerful people are no younger than 49. I know that it takes a life time to gain the power and knowlegde that these people have but it still makes me laugh. I can see how the pope is one of the most powerful people even though the number of catholics has been slowly decreasing. My guess is that if they had done this ten or twenty years ago he might have been higher up on the list.

  9. Im not surprised that Hu Jintao is number 1. We see on EVERYTHING made in China. 1/5 of the world HE controls, that is very scary. I don't like the way he rules ONE BIT. I am very thankful I do not live under his rule.

  10. It is interesting that the Chinese preident is number 1 and Obama is number 2