“From the motherland to Syria to the U.S. presidential elections, Russia’s leader continues to get what he wants”, reads a short explanation on the Forbes World’s Most Powerful People 2016 report.
Since 2009, Forbes has compiled an annual list of the world’s most powerful people. The list has one slot for every 100 million people on Earth. Slots are allocated based on the amount of human and financial resources that they have sway over, as well as their influence on world events.
This year’s list consist of 74 names, since there are now nearly 7.4 billion humans on planet Earth. These 74 men and women are what “makes the world turn.” And according to Forbes, Vladimir Putin has been dominating unchallenged since 2013.
Forbes “considered hundreds of candidates from various walks of life all around the globe,” measuring their power along four dimensions:
First, we asked whether the candidate has power over lots of people. Pope Francis, ranked #5, is the spiritual leader of more than a billion Catholics. Doug McMillon (#27), is the CEO of the world’s largest private employer, Wal-Mart Stores, with more than 2.3 million workers around the globe.
Next we assessed the financial resources controlled by each person. Are they relatively large compared to their peers? For heads of state we used GDP, while for CEOs, we looked at measures like their company’s assets and revenues. When candidates have a high personal net worth, like the world’s richest man, Bill Gates (#7), we also took that into consideration. In certain instances, like the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (#16), we considered other valuable resources at the candidate’s disposal –like 20% of the world’s known oil reserves.
Then we determined if the candidate is powerful in multiple spheres. There are only 74 slots on our list – one for approximately every 100 million people on the planet –so being powerful in just one area is often not enough. Our picks project their influence in myriad ways: Elon Musk (#21) has power in the auto business through Tesla Motors, in the aerospace industry through SpaceX, because he’s a billionaire, and because he’s a highly respected tech visionary.
Lastly, we made sure that the candidates actively used their power. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un (#43) has near absolute control over the lives of the 25 million people who live in his country, and is known to punish dissent with death.
To calculate the final rankings, a panel of Forbes editors ranked all of our candidates in each of these four dimensions of power, and those individual rankings were averaged into a composite score. This year’s list comes at a time of rapid and profound change, and represents our best guess about who will matter in the year to come.
The full list of this year’s most powerful people can be viewed on the Forbes website.