For those prone to debating this sort of stuff, Forbes released its list of the 70 most powerful people in the world for 2011.

Topping the list was U.S. President Barack Obama, followed by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao. Obama topped the list in 2009 only to be de-throned by Hu in 2010.

Forbes claims its criteria for the list was: the number of people under a person's power; the financial resources they control; the breadth of their influence over more than one area; and how actively the person wields their power.

The resulting top ten were:

  1. President Barack Obama, United States
  2. President Vladimir Putin, Russia
  3. President Hu Jintao, China
  4. Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany
  5. Bill Gates, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  6. King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, Saudi Arabia
  7. Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic Church
  8. Chairman Ben Bernanke, U.S. Federal Reserve
  9. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
  10. Prime Minister David Cameron, United Kingdom

Let the debates begin.