The list is created according to a number of factors when coming up with its rankings. The main criteria are personal wealth, number of employees or followers, political power, and active influence on global matters.
Obama bumped Chinese President Hu Jintao from the No. 1 spot on the magazine’s annual rankings.
“The U.S. remains, indisputably, the most powerful nation in the world, with the largest, most innovative economy and the deadliest military,” Forbes wrote.
Being politically weakened, Obama is still the head-of-state of the world’s largest, most dynamic economy, commander-in-chief of the planet’s deadliest military and, unofficially, the leader of the free world.
China is the largest holder of U.S. debt now, its head-of-state is to give up political power to his successor, Xi Jinping, which may account for his small slide down the rankings.
Mr. Obama is followed by Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has retained his influence over national and foreign affairs and is poised to regain the presidency from current leader Dmitry Medvedev (No. 57). Putin appeared on the front pages in both European and Asian political press for most of the last decade and his influence is supposed to continue should he be elected to the presidential office again.
“Assuming that he serves two more terms, the increasingly autocratic Putin will be in office until 2024. Take that, Stalin!” Forbes wrote.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was announces the most powerful woman at No. 4 on the list, as Europe’s largest economy continued to wield its influence over the troubled European Union.
Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, got at No. 5. He was the first corporate executive on the list, thanks to a malaria vaccine backed by his charitable foundation that recently passed a key clinical trial.
“Gates’ goal is to eliminate infectious disease as a major cause of death in his lifetime. He may succeed,” Forbes wrote.
Mark Zuckerberg, the head of social networking site Facebook, has the ninth position (No. 40 in last year’s vote), sandwiched between U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (No. 8), who overseas monetary policy for the world’s biggest economy, and British Prime Minister David Cameron at No. 10.
“What the CIA failed to do in 60 years, Zuck (Zuckerberg) has done in 7: knowing what 800 million people think, read and listen to,” Forbes said.
The leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, is at the No. 7 spot, behind the king of the world’s largest oil producer Saudi, Arabia Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud, at No. 6. Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producer in the world and a key country in the Middle East.
David Cameron, United Kingdom Prime Minister, at No. 10. The deaths of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and Al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, which have been credited to U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization military operations, are supposed to have helped Obama to be at the top ranking.