The Five Most Powerful People in the World

William Burke-White – University of Pennsylvania

Who are the most powerful people in the world?

Who are the real influencers on the world stage? Who makes the decisions that determine war and peace? Economic growth or stagnation? Global cooperation or political stagnation? 

This lecture answers the question of who the most powerful people in the world are by examining how we think about power and influence in international politics. We will consider traditional answers based on military might and examine how globalization, technology, ideology, and economic interdependence are changing the ways we should think about power and influence.

After engaging in an analysis of power and influence in today’s world, we will consider 5 particular individuals—some expected, others perhaps unexpected or even unknown—who are calling the shots in global affairs today. The lecture concludes with a detailed look at what their influence means for our global future.

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