Thursday, December 30, 2010
The Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2010
According to foreigpolicy.com, the list bellow is the list of The Top 100 Global Thinkers based on the task and their vision.
1. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates:
stepping up as the world's states falter.
Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway | Omaha, Neb.
Co-chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation | Seattle
If you were one of the 1,011 billionaires in the world, what would you do with all that money? Famed investor Warren Buffett (net worth: an estimated $47 billion) and Microsoft founder Bill Gates ($54 billion) have an idea: Give at least half of it away.
The two billionaires have been traveling the world -- first to China and soon to India, as well as around the United States -- on a mission to create a global club of "Great Givers" who will transform philanthropy from a pastime of the wealthy into a calling for everyone who is rich. Since 2006, when Buffett pledged to give 99 percent of his assets away to charity -- much of it to Gates's foundation, which spends more than $2 billion yearly on programs to improve public health and development -- the two have emerged as an unlikely and formidable pairing of wealthy evangelists, preaching a breathtakingly ambitious new gospel of how capitalist riches can solve global problems. That became clear this year when Gates joined up with Buffett's project to convince the wealthiest elite from Silicon Valley to Shanghai to donate half their wealth, a challenge that, if answered by all America's billionaires, let alone the world's, could bring an estimated $600 billion to needy and deserving causes. So far, 40 billionaires have signed up.
As the world has lost confidence in the ability of countries and institutions like the United Nations to solve global problems, Gates offers an attractive alternative vision: that the business community's relentless drive to innovate can help with our biggest challenges, from malaria to food scarcity to illiteracy. And he has the money to prove it. At a recent conference on HIV/AIDS, Gates pledged more than the government of either Norway or Australia, and almost as much as the entire European Commission. His foundation's funding for research into microbicides -- gels that would prevent HIV transmission -- helped lead to the first real breakthrough this July, when a candidate gel showed 39 percent effectiveness. Whether it's a green revolution for Africa or a vaccine for malaria, Gates's agenda is now the global agenda -- and he and Buffett won't stop until they see it through.
2. Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Robert Zoellick:
for steely vision at a moment of crisis.
IMF managing director | Washington
World Bank president | Washington
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are the globe's firefighters -- taken for granted until they're desperately needed, as they are now. And their leaders have also done an especially good job explaining how those conflagrations might be prevented next time around.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn's IMF has managed to forestall sovereign defaults in Greece, Hungary, Pakistan, and Ukraine without inspiring much resistance -- in striking contrast to the near-uprisings that accompanied IMF programs during the late 1990s Asian financial crisis. Strauss-Kahn also put his stamp on geopolitics this year, convincing the Germans to step up during Greece's crisis and later working to forestall an international currency war.
As head of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick has stepped into the chaotic aftermath of a harrowing array of unexpected disasters, from the floods in Pakistan to the earthquake in Haiti to the continuing global food crisis, while establishing the bank as a leader in thinking about global trends from combating climate change to democratizing Internet technology.
Both institutions have been especially attuned to the rise of emerging economies. Strauss-Kahn has overseen the redistribution of the IMF's powerful board seats from developed countries to rising powers. And in April, Zoellick bluntly declared the era of the "Third World" over. Countries like Brazil, China, India, and South Africa aren't developing countries anymore; they're independent "poles of growth." Without Strauss-Kahn and Zoellick at the helm, we might not be using the word "growth" at all
3. Barack Obama
for charting a course through criticism.
President | Washington
Don't count Barack Obama out. Sure, the brainy young American president has had a tough sophomore year, with a stubbornly sluggish economy, worsening conditions in Afghanistan, an electoral backlash at home, and the surprise challenge of more than 4 million barrels of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. His sweeping plans to overhaul immigration and reinvent the way Americans use energy never got off the ground, and he can boast of neither Middle East peace nor mastery over the restive Republicans at home rising up against what they bemoan as the advent of European-style socialism.
But Obama is still arguably the developed world's most popular leader, even if the American public judges him more harshly, and he is slowly but surely inventing a new kind of U.S. leadership to go along with his vision of an America that once again projects its power through the force of its ideas. To Obama has fallen a tough task: the hard work that accompanies the building of a new order to succeed America's unchallenged rule as the lone post-Cold War superpower. But luckily for the world it is a task Obama embraces, if still hesitantly at times. He has put American prestige on the line to speak up for emerging powers still not properly represented in the world's governing bodies, boldly renewed U.S. ties of friendship with the democracies of Asia, and in his ringing address to the U.N. General Assembly in September declared himself ready to "call out those who suppress ideas" and "serve as a voice for those who are voiceless."
Such idealism has not yet come to define Obama's legacy in the world; for all his Wilsonian rhetoric, he remains a cautious incrementalist on most issues. In many ways, he's the most realist of recent U.S. presidents, determined to focus on the terrible challenges, from Afghanistan to climate change, that he's been dealt. The world may yet thank him for it.
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