By Caroline Howard
Who's more powerful: the omnipotent head of a corroding but still feisty superpower or the handcuffed head of the most dominant country in the world? This year, our votes for the World's Most Powerful People -- an annual look at the heads of state, financiers, philanthropists and entrepreneurs who truly rule the world -- went with the former.
President Vladimir Putin has solidified his control over Russia while U.S. President Barack Obama's lame duck period has seemingly set in earlier than usual for a two-term president -- latest example: the government shutdown mess. Anyone watching this year's chess match over Syria has a clear idea of the shifting individual power dynamic.
The Most Powerful People in the World list represents the collective wisdom of top Forbes editors, who consider hundreds of nominees before ranking the planet's top 72 power-brokers -- one for every 100 million people on Earth -- based on their scope of influence and their financial resources relative to their peers.
Forbes' List of the World's Most Powerful People, 2013 Edition