The 10 Most Powerful People in the World
First published: Friday May 7th, 2021
1. Xi Jinping
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
2. Vladimir Putin
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
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 On 9 November 2016, people in India woke up to learn that all paper money above $5 in value was no longer valid.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
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
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.
Anyways, this is a very interesting topic. But this all begs the question: is a "Top 10 Most Powerful People Quiz" coming soon?
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...
I also might flip Merkel and Johnson, and possibly add Macron.
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.
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.
So that's flawed logic.
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!
Trump is a bit much to handle but I think the blog is right.
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.
They're the same face! Doesn't anyone notice this!? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!
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.
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.
I'm pretty sure the only way to win at nuclear war is to not play.
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.
Current military technology will prove to be obsolete and useless in the future, and so the ability to produce new equipment will be vital.
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.
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:
3) Biden (might climb higher but seems like a weak president at the moment)
8) Boris Johnson
9) MBSAS (Leader of Saudi Arabia)
10) Ali Khamenei
This is the stupidest thing I've read this month.