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Everything you need to know about Forbes' 10 most powerful people in the world right now

They've got the power

Everything you need to know about Forbes' 10 most powerful people in the world right now

It’s that time again.

That time when a magazine read mostly by white, rich, non-female people tells us which mostly white, rich, non-female people are influencing this floating space rock we call Earth.

Yes, Forbes has whittled down the World’s Most Powerful People again, which is once more propped up by Baltic troublemaker Vladimir Putin.

No Elon Musk. No David Bowie. But there are two women and two people who aren’t white, so at least that’s something.

Anyway, here’s what you need to know about the people currently shaping the fate of humanity...

10. Larry Page

Who: Google co-founder

What he’s up to: Now CEO of Google’s newly formed parent company Alphabet, he’ll be hoping people start buying Google Glass and that those driverless cars are slaloming around highways by 2025.

What Forbes says: “One of the richest people on earth.”

Most likely to say himself: “Please don’t Google me, it’s demeaning.”

8. Narendra Modi

Who: Indian Prime Minister

What he’s up to now: Look away now Indian Scrooge McDuck, Modi’s currently in the middle of trying to tap into the country’s gold deposit, which holds over four times as much bullion as Fort Knox.

What Forbes says: "Modi has remained focused on reforms and infostructures for his country.”

Most likely to say himself: “What has a double-jointed thumb and a great beard? Me."


8. David Cameron

Who: Prime Minister of the UK

What he’s up to now: Wooing China, keeping tabs on Russia and attempting to pass new spying laws which threaten the privacy of UK web users while avoiding all references to pigs.

What Forbes says: “Britain’s Prime minister hung on to his spot in Downing Street this year.”

Most likely to say himself: “I love West Ham. No, SH*T, don’t mention ham!”

7. Janet Yellen

Who: Chair, US Federal Reserve

What she’s up to now: Reminding Americans that their national debt stands at $18,358,638,327,577 Yellen has teased that interest rates might be hiked come December.

What Forbes says: “Keeps invested waiting with bated breath for news of interest rate moves."

Most likely to say herself: “Mo money, mo problems.”

6. Bill Gates

Who: Head of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

What he’s up to now: The geek that really did inherit the earth, Gates turned his attentions to battling poverty and providing education and healthcare through their non-profit organisation, where he continues to do so.

What Forbes says: “Along with wife Melinda, remains at the helm of the massively influential foundation that bears his name”.

Most likely to say himself: Hey, remember Windows 98?!"

5. Xi Jinping

Who: General Secretary Communist Party of China

What he’s up to now: Faced with a major aging crisis and gender misbalance (there are 40m more men in China than women), Jinping’s government has just finally introduced the two-child policy, though internationally he continues to exert power, most recently buying his way into Britain’s nuclear power stations (and possibly football teams).

What Forbes says: “Some people have called him the most powerful ruler since Mao Zedong.”

Most likely to say himself: “We’re continuing our monopoly of the UK by buying three houses on Park Lane."

4. Pope Francis

What he’s up to now: Despite a great start to his top job on a global scale, where he’s been lauded to his hands-on approach and frugal living, Pope Francis is now starting to contend to deal with the shadowy forces in his own organisation. Notably, according to some reports, from senior members at odds with Francis over his objections to the clergy's spendthrift ways, making him pretty much the Serpico of the spiritual world.

What Forbes says: “Recent trips to the United States and Cuba highlighted the Pontiff’s sweeping influence."

Most likely to say: “Come on guys. Our overheads are through the Sistine Chapel.”

3. Barack Obama

What he’s up to now: A noticably lighter shade of grey these days, POTUS has three big jobs: 1) ensuring the US doesn’t come to blows with Russia regarding the Syria crisis, and 2) hoping he can pass as many free healthcare programmes as possible before he leaves office, and 3) bringing in some sort of gun control so gun-nuts can't continue murdering people.

What Forbes says: “Drops into third place this year as he finishes out his second term”

Most likely to say himself: “Oh f*ck you, Forbes.”


2. Angela Merkel

What she’s up to now: While news reports out of Germany may show everyone has welcomed the thousands upon thousands of refugees from the Syrian civil war with open arms, the country still remains divided on the matter. With other Western countries not pulling their weight and Germany taking the brunt, some political experts believe this humanitarian act will decide the future of Western Europe’s most powerful leader of the last decade.

What Forbes say: “The German Chancellor’s global influence is stronger than ever - and is the only woman who has appeared on this ranking every year”

Most likely to say herself: “Don’t expect that to change.”

1. Vladimir Putin

What he’s up to now: Threatening a new Cold War, Putin’s aggressive attitude to the West and relationship with the US and UK remains frostier than ever. He's probably got a giant laser ready too.

What Forbes says: “The Russian President remains atop this list and shows no sign of going anywhere soon.”

Most likely to say himself: “I’ve been expecting you, Mr Bond."