Blogger Akarlin described a method he had thought up for measuring (political) power (which should not be confused with influence, which is what you’ve done with your power):
(1) First, compile an index of national power (based on subcomponents like economic, military, and soft power). There are several such; here is my modest attempt:
(2) Estimate the percentage of power your individuals have over each country.
I think this is a clever idea, but what’s missing is an objective measure of how much power someone has over a country.
Fortunately, in 2014, YouGov polled people in most of the major countries to determine who they most admired. If someone admires you more than anyone else in the World, they worship you like a God, and you have great power over them. In 2014, 10.35% of America worshipped Obama, according to YouGov, so Obama had power over 10.35% of America.
According Akarlin’s ranking, around this time, America had 22.6% of the World’s power. Thus Obama had 10.35% of 22.6% of the World’s power, giving him at least 2.34% of the World’s power. Of course Obama is worshipped in many other countries too, and Pope Francis was even more worshipped in America than Obama, but it’s hard to control your worshippers in a country that is not your own, since you can’t run for office in those countries, nor can you really get away with endorsements, so for the sake of simplicity, I decided to limit the measurement to one’s own country.
According to Akarlin, Russia had only 6.43% of the World’s power in 2015, but according to the YouGov poll, Putin was worshipped by 24.62% of Russia, so that means Putin had 1.58% of the World’s power.
So the top 10 most political powerful people in 2014-2015 were:
- Obama (10.35% of 22.6% is 2.34%)
- Putin (24.62% of 6.43% is 1.58%)
- Billy Graham (6.1% of 22.6% is 1.38%)
- Xi Jinping (9.06% of 11.67% is 1.06%)
- The Queen (18.74% of 4.66% is 0.87%)
- George W. Bush (3.14% of 22.6% is 0.71%)
- Oprah (2.96% of 22.6% is 0.67%)
- Bill Gates (2.96% of 22.6% is 0.67%)
- Bill Clinton (2.4% of 22.6% is 0.54%)
- Rush Limbaugh (2.22% of 22.6% is 0.50%)
Although Oprah is edged out by the Queen, I would say that ultimately Oprah, and not the Queen is the most powerful woman in the World, because while the Queen has a bit more political capital, multibillionaire Oprah has A LOT more economic capital, and as the Queen of all Media, at her peak had vastly more cultural clout. All three types of power and more need to be factored in.
And yet despite all this power, the big brained super star is often mistaken for a nobody in Europe. This must come as a huge culture shock for Oprah is used to be treated like God in North America, and much of the Middle East and Africa. When she asked to see a certain purse in Switzerland, the sales clerk, said simply “no”.
Can you imagine you’re a sales clerk in Europe who sees some woman who looks too fat, or let’s face it, too black to afford the purse she’s asking for. You politely tell her no because she probably can’t afford it, and then a week or so later, you turn on the TV to discover that the customer you turned away is the most powerful woman on the planet, and your entire country of Switzerland is apologizing for your mistake.
This shows what Santoculto called the hierarchal nature of power. Oprah is a nobody in Switzerland, but Oprah largely controls America, the country that largely controls the World, including Switzerland, so suddenly Switzerland is apologizing.
But it wasn’t the first time this had happened to Oprah: