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Forbes: The World's Most Powerful People

The World's Most Powerful People

What do the president of the United States, the Dalai Lama, a billionaire drug dealer and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg all have in common? They are all featured on Forbes' annual ranking of the World’s Most Powerful People.

The ranking takes into account four factors. First, Forbes measured how many people a person has power over. For a religious leader, like Pope Benedict XVI, that would be the number of adherents, or Catholics, in the world. For a CEO, like General Electric’s Jeffrey Immelt, Forbes counted the number of employees.

Then, they looked at the financial resources controlled by each candidate, whether that is revenues (for a company), GDP (for a country) or net worth (for a billionaire). Next, Forbes asked: Is a candidate influential in more than one arena, or sphere? This bumped up the ranking of people like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is a powerful politician, a self-made media billionaire and a major philanthropist.

Finally, Forbes gave consideration to how actively the candidates wield their power. This measure eliminated inactive heirs to great fortunes, semi-retired industrialists and former heads of state. In all, 70 people made the final list, one for every 100 million people on the planet. These are the top 10.

(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini/AP Photo/Ed Andrieski/AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

More From Forbes:
The World’s Most Powerful: Dropoffs
The World’s Most Powerful Newcomers
The Most Powerful Offenders and Defenders

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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