The 10 Most Powerful People in the World

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1. Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping is not amused

This one is a no-brainer.  Not only is Xi Jinping the world's most powerful person, he is the most powerful person the world has seen for decades, if not longer.

Xi Jinping is not merely the leader of the world's most populous country, the world's largest economy, and it's third largest nuclear arsenal, he does so with nearly unquestioned obedience.  His philosophy, "Xi Jinping Thought" has been incorporated into the Chinese constitution.  Over 100 million people have downloaded an app on their phone to study it.  Where Xi Jinping goes, so goes China.  And increasingly, so goes the world.

1½ Xi Jinping's wife, Peng Liyuan

This is probably true, I just have no evidence of it.  And so, moving on...

2. Vladimir Putin

"I could have you killed", he is thinking

Another easy choice. While Russia might not be the great power it once was, it still has the world's largest nuclear arsenal and its sixth largest economy.  Furthermore, as the world's largest country by area, Russia has unimaginable natural resources, and is virtually impossible to conquer. Putin has ruled Russia like a tsar for two decades, tightly controlling the government and economy of this vast and powerful nation.  And while Putin may not have the cult of personality that Xi Jinping enjoys, he is widely popular and will likely remain in power until he chooses to step aside.

3. Joe Biden

Striking a blow for senior citizens everywhere

As U.S. President, Joe Biden is commander and chief of the world's most powerful army, its most powerful air force, and by far its most powerful navy. But his power has pretty firm limits.  In terms of ability to dictate policy, Biden is tightly constrained by his own political party, by the rules of the U.S. Constitution, and by elites within the business community and media.  But even though there's a lot he can't do, he is still, by quite a wide margin, the most powerful person in the United States.

4.  Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi is like a poor-man's Xi Jinping, which is actually quite the compliment.  Both men lead a country over 1 billion people.  And both men have led their country for quite a long time, with increasing personal control over time. One fun thing about powerful people is how they can make arbitrary decisions that affect millions of people.  On 9 November 2016, people in India woke up to learn that all paper money above $5 in value was no longer valid.  They had to stand in long lines to redeem their old currency, with a very small daily limit.  Many people died in the rush to exchange cash.  Imagine having the power to dramatically affect a billion people!  Not too shabby.

5. Donald Trump

This is a tricky one, and a little controversial.  Surely, Mr. Trump has a wide following of deeply devoted fans.  At his peak, they might have represented as much as 40% of the population of the United States.  However, his fans, despite their large numbers, have very little political or social influence.  How many CEOs, celebrities, journalists, and professors support Trump?  Very few.  One of his most prominent supporters was the CEO of a pillow company.

Trump's power is much more subtle.  In fact, you could say it is an anti-power.  Because Trump, more than anyone else, dictates what is socially unacceptable in the the western world.  A large percentage of the elite population takes it as axiomatic that whatever Trump says is wrong.  I firmly believe that if Trump had appeared on television in February 2020, wearing a mask, and calling for lockdowns, that the entire trajectory of the pandemic would have changed.  Masks and lockdowns would be considered not only wrong but racist.  A single man changed the world.  And that is true power, even if Trump himself is unable to actually harness it.

6. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Imperial Standard of the Ottoman Sultan

The modern nation of Turkey was born from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire in 1923.  The founder of the nation, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, wanted Turkey to become a secular democracy modeled after the great powers of Europe.  But the population of Turkey is almost entirely composed of conservative Muslims.  This posed a problem.  A true democracy would quickly end when voters voted to establish an Islamic state.  So Atatürk built Turkey into a country with some democracy, but not too much.  This precarious balance was maintained by the military, who overturned democratically-elected governments in 1960, 1971, 1980, and 1997.

Erdoğan has upset this balance.  He has led Turkey since 2003, first as Prime Minister then as President.  When he grew too powerful, many observers expected the military to overthrow him.  But when the long-awaited coup finally came in 2016, it failed to topple Erdoğan.  Some people even think that the failed coup was staged by Erdoğan himself.  But whether the coup was real or not, Erdoğan used is as an excuse to crack down on his opponents in the military and in the media.  For the first time, the leader of Turkey had broken the power of the military.  Today, some people refer to Erdoğan as the new "sultan" of a reborn Ottoman Empire.

7. Elon Musk

To the moon!

If we ever do make it to Mars, it will probably be in large part due to Elon Musk.

At times the world's richest man, depending on what Tesla stock is doing on a given day, Elon Musk is by far the most visionary capitalist alive today.  Musk built Tesla into the world's most valuable automobile company, starting it at a time when electric automobiles were all but non-existent.  In the mean time, his other company, Space X, has revolutionized the satellite launch industry and made real progress towards human spaceflight, arguably making more advancements in the last 10 years than NASA has made in the last 40. 

What else is he doing, you ask?  How about Starlink, a system of over 30,000 satellites which is capable of delivering high speed internet anywhere on the planet.  More speculative technologies include NeuraLink (an interface which connects the human mind to computers) and the Hyperloop (a vacuum-sealed train system meant to carry passengers at speeds of over 1000 km/hr). In an era when technological advancement has slowed considerably, Musk is paving a path to the future.

8. Nicolás Maduro

Some people are powerful because they can do great things.  They can build companies, create wealth, commission great works of arts, inspire the masses.  Other people are powerful only because they can keep people in misery.  Nicolás Maduro is one of those people. Nicolás Maduro has been President of Venezuela since 2013.  He has continued the economic policies of his predecessor, Hugo Chávez. And these policies have a been a disaster.  Today 53% of Venezuelans live in extreme poverty, defined as an income of less than $1.90 per day.  Over 6 million people have fled the country.  Maduro has the power to end this.  He could step aside to a comfy retirement on the French Riviera.  All he has to do is resign, and let the opposition party lead Venezuela back from starvation. 

9. Boris Johnson

I don't have a lot to say about this choice only that Boris Johnson is currently the leader of the United Kingdom, one of the most powerful countries on Earth, culturally, economically, and militarily.

10. Angela Merkel

Another default choice based on Ms. Merkel's position as leader of Germany.

+11
Level ∞
May 7, 2021
Big credit to Stewart who has made our Blog Editor much more powerful.
+5
Level 51
May 7, 2021
Interesting blog!
+4
Level 53
May 7, 2021
No Ali Khamenei? I certainly would've placed him above Erdogan (who I believe is far too high on the list). Same with Maduro — he's a bit too high, I would think.

Anyways, this is a very interesting topic. But this all begs the question: is a "Top 10 Most Powerful People Quiz" coming soon?

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Level 67
May 8, 2021
I don't think we can turn this into a quiz because it's subjective. I think every single quiz on this site has an objective basis by which you can look up the answers. Is Boris Johnson in fact more powerful than Emmanuel Macron? It's impossible to quantify.
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Level 54
May 7, 2021
Maduro´s power is limited to Venezuela (or maybe South America). I don´t think he belongs on this list. Ali Khamenei, for example, is much more powerful

Merkel will be out of office pretty soon.

Maybe, I would replace them with Jeff Bezos ( fitting, if you include Musk ), Joe Manchin III (let´s call him the "bill killer") or Mohamed bin Salman Al Saud. If I were to chose someone from Europe: probably Lagarde.

But probably the most powerful person missing is Rupert Murdoch...

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Level ∞
May 7, 2021
My theory is that Maduro could easily improve the lives of all Venezuelans by simply resigning. Not sure that Khamenei could do that.
+2
Level 65
May 8, 2021
Few others could also make many people's lives better by quitting, such as Jair Bolsonaro, Bashar al-Assad, Rodrigo Duterte, Kim Jong-un, Benjamin Netanyahu etc.
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Level 64
May 8, 2021
Netanyahu sucks, but one of the main reasons that he has maintained power for so long is that there aren't any great alternatives. If he were to step down and leading political figures like Regev or Bennett replaced him I don't think it would be a step up.
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Level 35
May 7, 2021
Is just amazing that Kim Jong-un isn’t here. Finally, a Quizmaster’s blog!
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Level 57
May 7, 2021
Yeah, Finally a new QM blog!
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Level 57
May 7, 2021
You forgot Kim Jong-Un, lol.
+4
Level 35
May 7, 2021
Why everyone is copying me lol?
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Level 64
May 8, 2021
I mostly agree with the list, just move Erdogan to the tenth place and replace Merkel and Johnson
+15
Level 75
May 8, 2021
The absolute hubris of these captions. This is written like someone who copy and pasted their worldview from reddit.
+15
Level 75
May 8, 2021
Almost like it's a blog post or something! The nerve!
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Level 54
May 8, 2021
I think Biden is below because he is not dictator
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Level 58
May 8, 2021
I would probably flip Biden and Xi. And not sure that I would include Trump.

I also might flip Merkel and Johnson, and possibly add Macron.

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Level 58
May 8, 2021
Biden and Xi?

I wouldn't say so. Jinping has control of China, which is to most people, the most powerful nation on earth. Maybe with Putin. I agree with you with Macron and Trump. I would have added Khamenei and Kim Jong Un.

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Level 67
May 8, 2021
Yes, but I wonder how the math changes if we include Biden's influence outside his own borders. The West functions in some respects as a coalition, with the US, Canada, and western Europe working together. What about NATO, for example? China is not part of it. I don't know as I sit here how much direct influence someone like Biden has over NATO operations, but my point is that leaders, especially in the West, generally don't operate in silos. China generally does.
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Level 58
May 8, 2021
China does have a lot of allies outside of its own borders. It is allied to most of Africa and about half of South America. It is allied to most of Asia and is trying to dam off the Ganges and a few other rivers which will most likely lead to India becoming a Chinese ally or puppet state. The US is withdrawing from the world and will only stay within the far east (Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Taiwan etc), Western Europe (NATO and the EU) and parts of South America so while the US is withdrawing from the world, China is creating allies.
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Level 73
May 8, 2021
"it's" should be changed to "its" in the part about Xi Jinping

Great blog!

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Level 65
May 8, 2021
Almost admirable how the US media manages to brainwash almost all of their population.
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Level 43
May 12, 2021
indeed
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Level 65
May 8, 2021
The leaders of these nations are hardly the most powerful people. What about the people behind the scenes that control the leaders? the 'puppetmasters'. This may not be the case for China or Russia, but definetly so in the USA and Western Europe.
+6
Level 67
May 8, 2021
Haha, okay.
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Level 67
May 8, 2021
From the fifth position onwards things start to get questionable, the first four are almost objective in their order. Your view of Trump's power is extremely interesting, though I don't think I fully agree. Interesting blog!
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Level 55
May 8, 2021
He is still powerful because usually presidents leave a lasting impact on their supporters, but Trump has done this more than any president. There are still many people who believe his election claims and his words are his supporters orders.

To add, Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Ben Sasse, Pat Toomey, Richard Burr, and Bill Cassidy would easily win their primaries, but since they voted to impeach Trump, they are likely to get primaried. Usually, people get primaried in the Republican Party because they are not conservative enough, but people like Romney and Sasse are among the most Conservative in the party(not counting extremes). Trump can influence his politics of the 2nd most powerful political party in the world, and the most powerful country, pretty powerful in my book.

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Level 67
May 8, 2021
Missed the point, I was referring to QM's claim about Trump's antipower. Even if he's not president, I believe he's still extremely influential.
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Level 51
May 15, 2021
Romney? Among the most conservative in the party? Kidding, right?
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Level 55
May 15, 2021
He is definitely conservative enough that he doesn't have to be primaried for lack of it, that was the point I was making.
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Level 51
May 24, 2021
He was the only Republican to vote to impeach Trump in 2019, and has pretty much been an enemy of him ever since Trump took office. And 47% of Utah's delegates voted to censure Romney.
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Level 55
May 24, 2021
Yes, but Impeaching Trump isn't a matter of being conservative or not. It's not a policy issue, but more of a personal conscience issue(at least from Romney's POV) Hundreds of Republicans would have impeached Nixon, Including Barry Goldwater(who resurged the Conservative Movement), would that have made Goldwater Liberal suddenly? Based on the Issues, Romney is to the right of Mcconnell.
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Level 51
May 27, 2021
Wikipedia:
Romney was considered to be among the Senate's moderate Republicans

So that's flawed logic.

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Level 55
May 27, 2021
But so many of the sources Wikipedia sites are based around Impeachment, which isn't a policy issue. He has described himself as a part of the Tea Party Movement, and he is socially conservative, nothing glaringly moderate in him about the everyday issues.
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Level 51
Jun 21, 2021
His Trump score, which takes into account all of that, says he has a 75%, very moderate. Anyways, how is he one of the MOST conservative senators?
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Level 74
May 8, 2021
Very interesting that you have Trump so high. He without a doubt influenced (past tense) America and the world, but know that he's off social media he can't make much of a difference anymore.
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Level 51
May 8, 2021
Well, I disagree. The Republican party is starkly divided between the pro-Trumpers and anti-Trumpers. Liz Cheney is an example.
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Level 76
May 9, 2021
But The Republican party is in opposition on the federal level, both in government and congress. Its direct influence on world affairs is limited right now.
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Level 60
May 4, 2022
His influence in the past still has large current and future ramifications, although I suppose if we were going by that logic probably none of these figures would be on the list in exchange for characters like Johannes Gutenberg.
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Level 70
May 8, 2021
What, no Nursultan Nazarbayev?
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Level 70
May 8, 2021
Jokes aside, I mostly agree with this list. Two things though:

1. My sister and I were talking about the "most powerful man in America" thing once and we decided that it probably isn't the President. I'm mostly saying this because there are so many limits on Presidential power, especially in terms of domestic policy, and the most important thing in the daily lives of Americans (the economy) is mostly out of the President's control. This leads me to the conclusion that the most powerful person in America is probably some unelected bureaucrat with disproportionate impact on the economy (maybe Chair of the Federal Reserve?).

2. The power to control info is HUGE imo, and in this day and age social media is king of that. Arguably, without social media, we wouldn't even see #5 on the list. That said, I feel like Mark Zuckerberg (or Jack Dorsey) would make waaay more sense than Maduro.

Those are just my two cents though--I think everyone (except Maduro) on here make sense!

+7
Level ∞
May 8, 2021
Mark Zuckerberg definitely has a case for a high position.
+3
Level 55
May 8, 2021
How about Jeff Bezos? Amazon's power is growing exponentially by the nanosecond.
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Level 74
May 8, 2021
I think Zuckerberg should be on because of social media's ability to restructure the way people think
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Level 51
May 19, 2021
Sorry, but you saying that social media can brainwash people is laughable.
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Level 43
Jul 16, 2021
i would agree
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Level 60
May 4, 2022
Depends on your definition of brainwash, I suppose. Obviously Facebook doesn't have the same control over my mind as the MK Ultra operatives or the North Korean torture apparatus would, but the capacity for social media to rewire dopamine function and to (particularly with advertisement choices) influence opinions both individual and popular is quite deep.
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Level 83
May 8, 2021
If Trump had promoted mask wearing and stay-at-home measures it would have saved 400,000 lives, not been declared wrong and racist. Holy crap that's the stupidest thing I've read all day. There are extremely good reasons for opposing most of what Trump says and does. People don't do it just to be contrarian. Anyone who thinks that is obviously ignorant.
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Level 75
May 8, 2021
I'd argue that opposing Donald Trump is not undertaken by most in an effort to contrarian; rather the opposite. In fact, publicly expressing anti-Trump opinions and opposing him in all he says and does is basically the least contrarian thing a person could do. Opposing Trump has become social currency, which is why I believe QM has taken the position that if Trump had endorsed masks and lockdowns, every celebrity and news channel (and then the general public) would be falling over himself to declare Trump's masking and locking-down order racist and evil, and anyone who even appears to be following it a bootlicking domestic terrorist
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Level 67
May 8, 2021
I understand the general premise underlying your argument, but it is really difficult to accept the notion that people would oppose masking just to oppose Trump. People (outside his quasi-cult) are loath to follow his lead, but I doubt people who would risk their health and their family's just to defy him. On top of that, the whole premise is unimaginable because it was the scientific community championing masks, and liberals champion science much more than Trumpkins do. I don't see liberals sticking their fingers in their ears when Dr. Fauci talks just to piss off Trump. The general premise that if Trump zigs, most other people zag is fair enough. Applying it to masking seems a bridge too far.
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Level 83
May 16, 2021
yeah jmellor is right. This is flat out wrong. When, long after vaccines were available, and of course more for his ego than for public health, Trump actually did go on air tepidly endorse the vaccines, which he did... EVERY SINGLE sane or rational (read to Trumpists: liberal or left-leaning) media personality *praised* Trump for this. Many said the endorsement wasn't strong enough, obviously (it wasn't), but NOBODY said "oh, well now Trump says vaccines are good, so that's racist." ... I can't even fathom how someone could be so detached from reality that they could think for a second that this could be true. But then again, see my "Are You Too Dumb To Live" series of quizzes, and I guess believing that everyone in the media is just beating up on poor lil' Trump because they dislike him personally, and so will mischaracterize everything he does or says to make it seem bad, is akin to believing that vaccines cause autism, or that Oprah Winfrey trafficks human babies. People are dumb
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Level 51
May 27, 2021
That is just flawed... those who oppose Trump are opposing him for clear reasons, not opposing just for the sake of opposing.
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Level 67
May 9, 2021
It’s not just about Trump promoting masks and lockdown measures in general, but specifically February 2020 i.e at the very beginning of things... and I somewhat agree with Quizmaster that people would have opposed it just because it’s Trump. A bit like when he stopped flights from China and they said it was Racist.

Trump is a bit much to handle but I think the blog is right.

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Level 54
May 9, 2021
I don't know if this is necessarily true. Like others have mentioned, there are very viable reasons to disagree with Trump, but people don't just disagree with him for the fun of it. Here it's no different, there are/were genuine reasons to support mask-wearing even if Trump didn't endorse it. Liberals are known to support science, so if Trump endorsed mask-wearing along with Fauci and the CDC, there would have been no real reason to oppose him.

At its core, mask-wearing has nothing to do with racism, politics, or even Trump. It's pretty much just predicated on people caring about their own well-being (and others too). If anti-maskers saw it as a self-protection/scientific issue rather than a political issue, an infringement on bodily autonomy, a racial issue, etc. we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

Considering that a lot of people do understand that it's a scientific/self-protection issue, people wouldn't have stopped wearing masks to be anti-Trump.

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Level 83
May 11, 2021
ANY other president in recent history... Carter... Bush Jr... Obama... Clinton... would have promoted listening to the experts from the beginning, deferred to their advise and knowledge, encouraged everyone to follow it, not made it a partisan issue, not given aid and comfort to anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, alternative medicine kooks, and science deniers, would have used the power of the federal government to actually DO something rather than saying it's all the states responsibilities while simultaneously working to undermine those states' efforts... my GOD my head wants to explode thinking anyone could be SO ignorant as to think its justifiable to say Trump didn't fail beyond catastrophically in a singularly and unprecedentedly horrible way. I have to remind myself... not everyone is as engaged as I am.. not everyone knows what I know.. many people just don't pay attention... but if that describes you.. honestly.. SHUT UP. You are not qualified to have an opinion.
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Level 83
May 11, 2021
Trump took to Twitter to *encourage* people to defy and ignore HIS OWN White House's guidelines and recommendations for preventing spread of the virus!! This was INSANE. NO other US president in history has ever done anything comparable. Nor would they. None have been SO completely disinterested in serving the country and ONLY cared about their own ego. Opposition to and criticism of Trump IS NOT partisanship or bias. EVERYTHING you have ever read that suggested it is... IS biased. Or it is hopelessly out of touch with reality. One or the other. Sometimes I feel like Mugatu at the end of Zoolander.

They're the same face! Doesn't anyone notice this!? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

+2
Level 54
May 13, 2021
No, you're completely right, and it's very odd to me that people are coming up with this conclusion that everyone would have shunned mask-wearing if Trump endorsed it.

We could have saved 100,000+ lives if Trump promoted mask-wearing from the beginning. Why would the response be, "Well, the same amount of people would have died anyway because his opposers would have claimed that masks were racist." Huh?

No! We could be so much further on the path to recovery if Trump had just supported science. Where is everyone getting this "sunk cost" mentality from? Arguably, this claim is as bad as believing Trump's misinformation on masks.

+1
Level 66
May 25, 2021
Face masks were not recommended for general use by health authorities in February 2020, possibly in part because there were not enough of them to go around. If Trump had promoted them for general use it is not unreasonable to believe he would have been criticised. It could also be argued that stay-at-home measures have a disproportionately negative impact on people of certain races, which is defined as "structural racism" or "systemic racism" by some people. That said, I'm not sure that narrative would have been much more popular if only Trump had been in favour of lockdowns, as they have been imposed by right wing governments without much opposition in other countries.
+7
Level 66
May 8, 2021
I disagree whole-heartedly. People disagree with Trump because he promotes awful policies and beliefs. If he embraced science, something liberals do by default, they wouldn't flip around that. Plenty of standard sensible positions he's taken have been embraced near unanmiously, we just don't even think of them as issues. Masks would be the same way, there just wouldn't have been a debate and they would not have become a political issue. I am honestly revolted by how QM characterized Trump there.
+1
Level 83
May 11, 2021
and then he calls comments he disagrees with "low effort" and "not well reasoned" before deleting them... I guess everyone thinks their own dooty smells like roses.
+5
Level 69
May 8, 2021
Emmanuel Macron should be on this list, probably replacing Maduro. France still retains pseudo-imperial power over most of West Africa, in the form of the CFR Franc, political "influence," and in many cases, military presence. Though it might struggle with the UK or Germany in terms of economy or culture, France is definitely the European country most able to project power across the world.
+1
Level ∞
May 8, 2021
I feel that Macron is barely hanging on to power in his own country.
+5
Level 73
May 9, 2021
The same can be said of Maduro, and France is much more powerful...
+4
Level 56
May 8, 2021
I know "third largest nuclear arsenal" makes for a scary fact, but when you consider that Russia and the USA both have around 6,000 warheads with China only having around 300, the fact gets a lot less scary. I don't think China is the world's largest economy yet as well.

Also Mark Zuckerberg has way more influence than Elon Musk. Elon Musk just makes expensive cars, spaceships, and useless shit. Zuckerberg could probably get anyone elected president.

+1
Level 73
May 8, 2021
Oh yeah, ONLY 300 nuclear warheads, not a big deal at all...

I'm pretty sure the only way to win at nuclear war is to not play.

+5
Level ∞
May 8, 2021
The more I learn about China's growing military capabilities, the more I am convinced that China will have hands down the best military in the world within ten years.

The U.S. nuclear arsenal is aging quickly, and we are losing the ability to make new ones or to maintain old ones.

Autonomous jets will make our current planes obsolete.

Aircraft carriers will be sitting ducks for hypersonic missiles. Even if this proves difficult, they will be sunk by swarms of thousands of autonomous speedboats. Yes, really.

Most importantly, the U.S. military/industrial complex no longer attracts the top minds in the country. China is catching up fast, and will soon eclipse the U.S. in military power. What happens next, I don't know.

+1
Level 83
May 12, 2021
eventually, maybe. 10 years?? ..... nah. Maybe if they adjust their military power for "PPP"...
+2
Level ∞
May 14, 2021
China is already far ahead of the U.S. in one important way. In any major conflict, China will be able to quickly ramp up production of military goods, while it's questionable whether the United States will be able to produce very much at all without reliance on a Chinese supply chain.

Current military technology will prove to be obsolete and useless in the future, and so the ability to produce new equipment will be vital.

+1
Level 83
May 16, 2021
If we end up in another large-scale global total-war-style conflict a la WW1 or WW2 where such a thing would be necessary you could be right. But barring any sort of potentially-world-ending contest like that, and I don't see that as particularly likely to occur given either China's or the USA's attitudes toward expansionism and empire, then in the scale and type of conflicts we are likely to see in the coming 15-30 years there is every reason to believe that the United States will retain the edge in capability, readiness, technology, experience + expertise which together = military power and effectiveness.

If China invades the United States or the United States invades China and both are fighting for their existence and way of life that would change everything. But... in what possible scenario would that even happen? I don't see it. The Chinese want to be wealthy and prosperous but they have no interest in ruling the world. They're not Putin or Hitler or even Kim.

+1
Level 55
May 20, 2021
But in the event of war, I'd say that the US has a HUGE geographical advantage. First of all, an Invader(China) would have to cross the Pacific Ocean just to get to the United States, where the Pacific Fleet can severely Disorganize the invasion. And once they reach the US Mainland, how do they get on it? Any D-day style landing would be suicidal, especially with an army like China's, though strong hasn't fought a major conflict yet. If this was attempted, the landings would be quelled and the best of China's forces would be trapped in the Pacific.
+1
Level 60
May 4, 2022
In the event of a huge catastrophic war, I would imagine at least half of these 300 warheads would hit targets in the US. That's 150+ urban, economic, and military centers completely obliterated. Sure the navy (or what remains after everything docked in naval bases is destroyed) could prevent a traditional invasion, but the total crippling of the US would be enough to assure some form of victory I'd imagine, even without any follow-up.
+1
Level 55
May 14, 2021
@Vishvarm, so electric cars, rockets, and devices that could get us to Mars is "Useless Shit" in your book? Then what is useful according to you?
+1
Level 60
May 4, 2022
Elon Musk has a surprisingly large cultural influence within the US, and I would imagine the capacity to corner other industries. He has also now bought a large social media platform. I agree Zuckerberg still probably has more power though, at least so long as space colonization remains an ill-advised pipe dream.
+1
Level 73
May 8, 2021
I'm 100% certain that someone like Jerome Powell has more influence than several people on this list, including Elon Musk, Erdogan, and Maduro.
+1
Level ∞
May 8, 2021
Jerome Powell is one of seven members on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. As far as I know, his vote doesn't count any more than the other governors.
+5
Level 81
May 8, 2021
Xi, Yeltsin and Biden are in the correct order. Modi might belong in the top ten but his ability to project power beyond India is limited. Trump has very little influence especially without Twitter, Facebook, etc. He's been reduced to making grumpy old man speeches near the buffet table at Mar-a-lago. Nobody other than large part of the Republican party cares about his opinion; for the most part they just don't want to hear it. If Trump had reinforced the messaging of the scientists more people would've listened to the scientists. The smarter half of America would have and did follow the scientists, regardless of Trump's opinion. Trump also has the same issue as Modi; he really didn't project much power beyond the US -- the west didn't listen to him and the totalitarian regimes laughed at him and played him; and this was while he was president.
+3
Level 73
May 9, 2021
Yeltsin lol, quite powerful from the grave
+2
Level 81
May 9, 2021
oops yeah that would be Putin -- Yeltsin was far more fun though
+3
Level 81
May 8, 2021
Erdogan belongs somewhere on this list. He has tight control over Turkey and more importantly its large well equipped military. He's influential all over the Middle East. His ability to stay in NATO yet be on good terms with Putin keeps his influence up. Others in the Middle East with power might include MBS and Khamenei. Musk is a snake oil salesmen who lives off of gov't subsidies. Tesla's value is as inflated as Bitcoin. Businessmen with more influence include Bezos, Gates, Page, Brin, Zuckerberg, Dorsey and even Murdoch. Maduro has very little power even in Venezuela. Without Chavez's charisma and oil revenues, Maduro is barely holding on and doesn't have the influence outside of Venezuela that Chavez had. Boris Johnson is an incompetent buffoon. While the UK through the English still dominates culture and education, the UK may not survive Brexit. He abandoned northern Ireland and Scotland wants another referendum. Johnson barely controls the UK and nothing outside it.
+1
Level 81
May 8, 2021
Merkel is an interesting figure, I would rank her at #4. She planned to retire years ago but stayed on because her party couldn't find a successor and Trump was elected. She felt Europe needed experienced leadership during the Trump years. She became the third most powerful person during the last four years. She's retiring this year and could appoint a successor but chose not to. Unlike Trump she will continue to influence world politics especially in the EU. Another retried EU politician, Donald Tusk, also continues to project power and influence. Other powerful people I haven't mentioned yet include Powell, Macron, Pope Francis, Buffet, Carlos Slim, Tim Cook, Bibi, etc. Page should be on any Top Ten list -- Google projects far more power than most political leaders.
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Level 76
May 8, 2021
"Could appoint a successor but chose not to" - What do you mean? There are elections.
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Level 81
May 8, 2021
A successor to the CDU -- which given German politics right now means a successor to chancellor
+2
Level 76
May 9, 2021
It is entirely conceivable, even probable according to recent polls that the next chancellor will be from the Green party.
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Level 81
May 9, 2021
True -- my German friend is amused by the idea. Green normally polls higher than the outcome. It will be interesting to watch.
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Level 76
Jan 7, 2022
So both of us were wrong after all.
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Level 76
May 8, 2021
It is the other way around with Trump. He based his political career on being contrarian to opinions and even facts accepted by the mainstream. I think many of his supporters would agree with this description and say that it was the exactly why they voted for him.
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Level 81
May 9, 2021
Women make up half the world yet only 1.5 of the people on this list. No wonder why we are so messed up...
+4
Level 56
May 10, 2021
Ummm... Jeff Bezos 🤷‍♂️
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Level 59
May 12, 2021
I don't think Musk is anywhere near as influential as Bezos are the Facebook guy.

I also think too much credit is given to tinpot dictators such as Erdogan & Maduro. Sure they are influential in their countries but I don't think they hold as much regional influence to warrant being included.

I think either the leaders of Israel, Saudi Arabia, or Iran would be more appropriate.

I also don't think Trump has that much power now he is no longer in Office.

My list would be:

1) Xi

2) Putin

3) Biden (might climb higher but seems like a weak president at the moment)

4) Zuckerberg

5) Bezos

6) Merkel

7) Modi

8) Boris Johnson

9) MBSAS (Leader of Saudi Arabia)

10) Ali Khamenei

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Level 43
May 12, 2021
careful man, if you disrespect "the facebook guy" he might just zucc you up
+1
Level 54
May 12, 2021
I would definitely put Musk above Bezos.
+4
Level 83
May 16, 2021
Agreed. Except that you called Biden weak... he has been extremely effective as president so far might want to check your news sources. but even the most powerful US president won't be as influential in the US as the de-facto dictator is in Russia or the Supreme Leader is in China. Better list than the above for sure.
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Level 83
May 16, 2021
aside: Muhammad bin Salman is the crown prince and deputy prime minister of Saudi Arabia. His father Salman, the reigning king, still has greater authority than he does. But MBS has been more influential as crown prince than any previous crown prince in Saudi history.
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Level 57
May 13, 2021
Great blog! I would love to see one about the ten most powerful people throughout history, too.
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Level 66
May 25, 2021
Boris Johnson and probably Angela Merkel shouldn't be here in my opinion. Johnson is fairly powerful compared to other recent UK prime ministers (the previous two had to resign because they couldn't get their policies through regarding the EU) but the UK is not as influential as a country as it once was. He is also subject to democracy, which makes him less powerful than a dictator of a similarly influential country. Merkel is about to step down as leader of Germany, and is similarly subject to democracy. I believe she has been influential within the EU, but just being somewhere near the top of the governing body of a large economy does not necessarily equate to power.
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Level 54
May 25, 2021
By this logic, wouldn't Biden also place lower as well?
+3
Level 66
May 26, 2021
I think he deserves to be below Putin and Xi, but the USA is the most powerful country in the world by almost every metric whereas the EU is only economically powerful and has no military power.
+4
Level 62
May 26, 2021
"I firmly believe that if Trump had appeared on television in February 2020, wearing a mask, and calling for lockdowns, that the entire trajectory of the pandemic would have changed. Masks and lockdowns would be considered not only wrong but racist."

This is the stupidest thing I've read this month.

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Level 55
May 27, 2021
The wording on that is extremely confusing. From what I read, it seems like it asserts that the Republicans called it wrong, but the Democrats would do that and call it racist, which is ridiculous.
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Level 51
May 27, 2021
That's indescribable among words... in a negative way.
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Level 86
Jun 29, 2021
Musk's great achievement is getting taxpayer money and mandates in his favor.