The 10 Most Powerful People on the Planet

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Yesterday, Forbes published its list of the “Most Powerful People on Earth.” The people on the list come from all walks of life. Some are heads of state, others religious figures, technology geniuses, or celebrities.

To make the list, Forbes looked at how many people a person had influence over. For heads of state, they looked at the population. For religious leaders, the size of their flock, and so on. Next, they looked at financial worth in relation to their peers. For instance, net worth for billionaires, and GDP for political figures.

Thirdly, they looked at global reach. To be on Forbes Most Powerful list, you have to be able to influence people around the globe. And lastly, they looked at use of power. What good is it being a billionaire if all your money sits in a savings account?

Based on that criteria, Forbes picked 68 people to put on their Most Powerful People on Earth list. Here are the top ten most powerful people.

Hu Jintao

Hu Jintao

  • Age: 67 - Title: President - Organization: People’s Republic of China

Hu Jintao is the political leader of 3.2 billion people, more than anyone else on the planet. He also has dictatorial control, and can do what he wants without worrying about the bickering of a split party system. China also recently surpassed Japan to become the second largest economy.

Barack Obama

World's Most Powerful Person

  • Age: 49 - Title: President - Organization: United States of America

President Obama was last year’s most powerful man, but with a devastating midterm election, Obama could find it hard to enforce his policies in the next two years.

Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud

World's Most Powerful Person

  • Age: 86 - Title: King - Organization: Saudi Arabia

Not only is Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud the king and absolute ruler of land that hosts two holiest sites in Islam. He is also in control of  the world’s largest crude oil reserves. Forbes estimates that he rules over one-fifth of the planets oil supply.

Vladimir Putin

World's Most Powerful Person

  • Age: 58 - Title: Prime Minister - Organization: Russia

The Prime Minister over one-ninth of the world’s land.

Pope Benedict XVI

World's Most Powerful Person

  • Age: 83 - Title: Pope - Organization: Roman Catholic Church

The pope rules over more than 1.1 billion souls, or one-sixth of the population.

Angela Merkel

World's Most Powerful Person

  • Age: 56 - Title: Chancellor - Organization: Germany

The most powerful woman on the planet overseas Europe’s largest economy.

David Cameron

World's Most Powerful Person

  • Age: 44 - Title: Prime Minister - Organization: United Kingdom

David Cameron is the youngest Prime Minister in nearly 200 years.

Ben Bernake

World's Most Powerful Person

  • Age: 56 - Title: Chairman - Organization: Federal Reserve

The Fed’s influence is at an all-time high, and the man in charge is Ben Bernake.

Sonia Ghandi

World's Most Powerful Person

  • Age: 63 - Title: President - Organization: Indian National Congress

Ghandi has influence over 1.2 billion people in India, and was just elected to her fourth term.

Bill Gates

World's Most Powerful Person

  • Age: 55 - Title: Co-Chair - Organization: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill Gates earned his money with Microsoft, but he earned his power by giving it away. Gates encouraged 40 of the world’s richest people to sign his “giving pledge” this year.

You can see the other 58 people on the World’s Most Powerful list at Forbes.

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