Consolidated power rendered to the hands of an elite few mostly defines this year’s annual list of Forbes’ The World’s Most Powerful People. According to the magazine, each of the 75 powerful people in the list stood out in every 100 million (the planet has almost 7.5 billion humans to date).
Not surprisingly, Chinese President (or General Secretary of the Communist Party of China) Xi Jinping topped the roster. He was buoyed up after his clout got stronger following an amendment to the constitution of his country, which broadens his influence and eliminates his term limits (He can be in power for as long as he lives!).
Russian President Vladimir Putin was displaced from the No. 1 spot and landed in the second top rank. That ended his four consecutive years of domination of this annual list. Putin, who was also recently identified as a ‘strongman’ by Time magazine, has been at the helm of Russian power since May 2000. This year, he just got re-elected to his fourth term with a landslide vote of 77%.
On the third spot is U.S. President Donald Trump. Forbes cited his being the leader of the world’s superpower (in terms of economy and military power) as the main reason for his inclusion in the top three spots. In terms of influence, the magazine emphasizes that he has yet to succeed in pushing his agenda despite the fact that the current Congress is controlled by his own party, the Republicans. He is also under probe by several law enforcement agencies and he easily figures in on various scandals (personal and business).
Interestingly, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte climbed up to the No. 69 spot this year from No. 70 last year when his name was first included in the list. However, Forbes’ wordings on Duterte’s influence is something that may leave a bad taste in the mouth of Duterte himself and his followers: “His war on drugs has already resulted in the killing of thousands of people across the archipelago…Duterte’s raw and vulgar vocabulary keeps him in the headlines: he called Obama ‘son of a whore’ and has used homophobic slurs to describe opponents,” it read.
Fellow Southeast Asian leaders Lee Hsien Loong (Prime Minister of Singapore) and Joko Widodo (President of Indonesia) also made it to this year’s list as newcomers—No. 61 and No. 74, respectively.
These powerful people complete the top 10 list:
1. Chinese President Xi Jinping
2. Russian President Vladimir Putin
3. U.S. President Donald Trump
4. German Chancellor Angela Merkel
5. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
6. Pope Francis
7. Microsoft founder Bill Gates
8. Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud
9. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
10. Google CEO Larry Page
The World’s Most Powerful People list for 2018 was compiled by Forbes based on important factors: the individual’s influence, financial resources, power across industries, and use of authority or power. The magazine started publishing this annual list in 2009.