We live in the era of the demagogue, from Gates and Getty to Buffett and Bloomberg, nation states no longer rule the game. Now, above the bravura of mainstream politics, a new generation of global giants are emerging – but you’ve probably never heard of them.
We’ve trawled through the corridors of power and factories of industry to come up with our definitive list of 5 unknown gods among men who really rule the world.
With $575.2 billion in petty cash, Xuedong calls the shots at one of the largest financial institutions in the world. As China looks to diversify its interests abroad, particularly in Western Europe and Central Africa, it is highly likely that there’ll be a little bit more “Ding” in our “Dong” as European assets are snatched up by Mr Xuedong.
Did you fill up your car this morning? Chances are, somewhere along the chain, His Excellency Ali Al-Naimi was involved. The Saudi Petroleum Minister and former Chair of Aramco has been the key figure in the global oil industry for the past twenty years. He was instrumental in maintaing Saudi oil production amidst regional instability in the early 2000’s and with the dependence on Saudi production set to deepen as regional instability grows, His Excellency will become more important than ever.
Europe has nothing left in the tank. With coal and oil reserves at an all time low, our dependence on energy imports looks set to increase as renewable energy technologies gain pace. Alexy Miller, Vice-Chair of the worlds largest natural gas extract, Gazprom, looks like he’s going to become a whole lot more important. With direct control over exploitation rates and piping, Mr Miller has, as was shown most recently in Ukraine, the power to quite literally turn our lights off.
It may be a cliche’, but as Francis Bacon remarked, “knowledge is power”. As Chief Economist of the World Bank and a former Director for Analytic Economics at Cornell University, Mr Basu certainly has no end of both. Although he spent the majority of his career as an academic, Mr Basu’s analysis and interpretations of market data are now a touch-stone for most of the world’s financial ministries and heavily influence in national economic policies. A fun fact: Mr Basu is such a highly skilled Sudoku player that he’s even invented a two player form of the game, Dui-Doku.
Amid the lager and disappointment of England’s world cup flop, you probably failed to notice an ever present figure in the sat in the stands. Dima Rousseff, President of Brazil has used the tournament not only as a vehicle to showcase her country to the rest of the world, but also to show just how important it has now become. With the decrease in global energy reserves, Brazil has become an economic goldmine. With around 13.2bn barrels of oil in reserve and a further 364.2bn cubic metres of natural gas in reserve, Brazil will see a meteoric rise in diplomatic influence and Mrs. Rousseff will rise with her.