Forbes magazine, known for its lists, including The World’s Billionaires, Most Powerful Women, Top Earning Dead Celebrities, and Best Countries for Business, has selected this year’s list of the Most Powerful People in the World.
The top ten from the list are primarily heads of state, major religious figures and entrepreneurs, which is indicative of the full list of 68 people.
Popular media figures as well as the nefarious made the grade, including al-Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden (number 57) and JoaquÃn GuzmÃ¡n (60), Mexico’s drug trafficker who heads the Sinaloa Cartel.
Forbes claims the list is intended to spark conversation — or argument. As a sign of the times, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg came in at 40 while Bill Keller, editor of the New York Times, dropped to 50, and Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, stands in last place at 68.
Forbes‘ criteria defined “power” in four categories, including wielding influence over masses of people. For heads-of-state it factored in population and for media figures, the size of their audience.
The ranking of financial resources considered GDP for political leaders and net worth for billionaires. Also, the contenders had to be actively powerful.
Bonus points were given for power in multiple spheres, including politics, media and sports, with the example of Silvio Berlusconi (14).
1. Hu Jintao, President of China
2. Barack Obama, President of the United States
3. Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia
4. Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Russia
5. Pope Benedict XVI of the Vatican
6. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
7. David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain
8. Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the US Federal Reserve
9. Sonia Gandhi, Widow of former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi
10. Bill Gates, Co-Chair of Microsoft