There are seven billion people on the planet.These are the 20 top most powerful people in 2011 picked up by Forbes magazine.The ranking depends upon four factors 1) how many people a person has power over (or) how many employee an entrepreneur possess 2) Financial resources controlled by each candidate, whether that is revenues (for a company), GDP (for a country) or net worth (for a billionaire) 3) Whether a candidate influential in more than one arena, or sphere simply its multitasking 4) How actively the candidates wield their power, this measure eliminated inactive heirs to great fortunes, semi-retired industrialists and former heads of state.For a previous year (2010) ranking i have attached that post too in the bottom.
1) Barack Obama
President, United States of America
The US president topped the 2011 Forbes magazine’s list of powerful people. ‘Despite faddish American declinism, the U.S. remains, indisputably, the most powerful nation in the world, with the largest, most innovative economy and the deadliest military,’ Forbes said. Obama also successfully killed the US top enemy, Osama bin Laden, in May this year.
2) Vladimir Putin
Prime Minister, Russia
The autocratic Russian leader is expected to remain in office until 2024. Putin is also attempting for a new economic union of Russia and several former Soviet republics, including Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine, by 2015, the magazine said
3) Hu Jintao
President, People’s Republic of China
According to Forbes, although Hu currently holds all 3 top offices in China, he will gradually give up his titles over the next few years, as part of a well-orchestrated succession plan, starting from next year. His presumed successor, Xi Jinping, will assume the Chinese presidency a year later.
4) Angela Merkel
Chancellor of Germany
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the world’s most powerful woman, heads Europe’s most vibrant economy and is widely viewed as the de facto leader of the EU, Forbes said. A recent poll in France showed that the French have more faith in Germany’s leader (46%) than in their own president, Nicolas Sarkozy (33%). She also refused to support NATO air strikes in Libya.
5) Bill Gates
The world’s second-richest man, and the chairman of Microsoft, whose focus on creating, promoting and distributing vaccines is having a massive impact on global health. Gates’ goal is to eliminate infectious disease as a major cause of death in his lifetime. He may succeed. Malaria vaccine he backed recently passed a key clinical trial. The vaccine has the potential to save millions of lives, Forbes said
6) Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud
King, Saudi Arabia
According to Forbes, the King Abdullah is one of the world’s few remaining absolute monarchs. The Saudi King has continued to pursue an agenda of moderate reform in the desert kingdom that contains 20% of the world’s known oil reserves and Islam’s 2 holiest sites. Recently granted women the right to vote in local elections and has consistently nudged the nation’s educational system out from under clerical control. Yet al Saud is no liberal: He opposed the Arab Spring, spending more than $130 billion on social projects designed to quell any domestic pro-democracy movement.
7) Pope Bendict XVI
Pope, Roman Catholic Church
The spiritual leader to 1.2 billion people, about a sixth of the world’s population, delivers the final word on matters of abortion, gay marriage, female priests and, most recently, Occupy Wall Street, Forbes said.
8) Ben Bernanke
Chairman, Federal Reserve
The chief of US Federal Reserve has injected billions of dollar into the U.S. economy to avoid a global recession. All of the Republican party presidential candidates have vowed that they will fire Bernanke if elected, Forbes said.
9) Mark Zuckerberg
Net Worth $17.5 billion
The Facebook founder has done what the CIA failed to do. His creation, Facebook, knows what 800 million people, more than 10% of the world’s population, think, read and listen to. Internet users spend more time on Facebook than on any other site. The Harvard dropout is now creating his own monetary system, Facebook Credits, to facilitate transactions and profits. He is now America’s 14th-richest man, according to Forbes.
10) David Cameron
Prime Minister, United Kingdom
The British Prime Minister now serves as the U.K.’s punching bag, Forbes said. Cameron faces a splintering coalition and rebellion from within as Conservatives balk at his refusal to withdraw from or renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU, the magazine added. Even there, he has few friends. ‘You have lost a good opportunity to shut up,’ France’s Nicolas Sarkozy recently sneered at Cameron when he insisted on attending a meeting on the euro crisis. ‘We are sick of you criticizing us and telling us what to do. You say you hate the euro, and now you want to interfere in our meetings.
11) Sonia Gandhi
President, Indian National Congress
India’s most powerful politician has twice refused to serve as prime minister, delegating that job to Manmohan Singh, Forbes said.
12) Mario Draghi
Italy’s top banker just took the reins at Europe’s central bank and the MIT-trained economist will play a decisive role in managing the Euro crisis.
2011 Highlight: Italian press calls Draghi “Super Mario” for his deftness in navigating the minefield of Italian politic
13) Nicolas Sarkozy
Sarkozy surprised many when France decided to exercise its muscle by actively supporting the rebel Libyan National Transitional Council. In the ensuing NATO air campaign against Muammar Qaddafi, France flew far more strike sorties than the U.S. But despite the rebels’ victory and political rival Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s’ seamy self-destruction amid accusations of sexual misconduct with a maid in a New York hotel room, Sarkozy remains unpopular at home, with a sub-40% approval rating.
14) Wen Jiabao
China’s premier finally allowed the yuan to slowly appreciate this year, but then the U.S. Senate voted to penalize China for keeping it artificially low. “Grandpa Wen” abruptly reversed course, warning of a trade war.
2011 Highlight: As Wen approaches retirement he has increasingly ignored the party line, calling for changes in the “excessive concentration of power” in China.
15) Zhou Xiachoun
Governor, People’s Bank of China
The People’s Bank of China holds $3.2 trillion in foreign-exchange reserves, including $1.1 trillion worth of U.S. Treasurys.
2011 Highlight: In September Euromoney named Zhou “Central Bank Governor of the Year.”
16) Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State, United States of America
Impressive marks for her handling of a difficult year, which included the Arab Spring uprisings, WikiLeaks’ release of sensitive American diplomatic cables, Iran’s alleged murder attempt on the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. and the death of Osama bin Laden.
17) Michael Bloomberg
Net Worth $19.5 billion
The very definition of a man who is powerful in multiple spheres, Bloomberg is the mayor of America’s largest city, a media mogul, a major philanthropist and the 12th-richest man in the country.
2011 Lowlight: Despite all that power, Bloomberg hasn’t been able to convince Occupy Wall Street protesters to vacate Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park.
18) Timothy Geitner
Secretary of the Treasury United States of America
Geithner publicly stated in May that there was “no risk” of a U.S. debt downgrade. Three months later Standard & Poor’s did just that, stripping U.S. Treasurys of their triple-A rating.
2011 Lowlight: Geithner has expressed dismay at how quickly Wall Street has turned on Obama, telling The Atlantic, “I think people resent it when they need help.”
19) Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister, India
The incorruptible Cambridge-and Oxford-educated economist is widely respected as the man behind India’s economic reforms, which have led to the subcontinent’s blistering growth over the last decade. However, spreading the benefits to the poorest remains difficult although the Indian GDP grows at 8% this year, according to Forbes.
20) Warren Buffet
Net Worth $39 billion
Buffett recently raised hackles when he penned an op-ed claiming that his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does, suggesting that “it’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.” Obama then proposed a “Buffett tax” to ensure that no millionaire would pay less in taxes than a middle-class family.