Powerful Men Today

Sir David Attenborough

In his 94 years, this legendary broadcaster and inspiring naturalist has visited every continent on earth, and documented the living world in all its incredible variety. His passion has been, and still is, to explore the planet, and then to protect it for future generations.

If the world listens to what he has to say in his latest feature documentary “A Life on our Planet”, it’s just possible that the Earth might be saved from impending doom and disaster caused, of course, by us so-called intelligent human beings. In fact, back in January 2013, he described us all as a “plague on the Earth” and also criticised the act of sending food to famine-stricken countries while doing absolutely nothing about population control.

David Attenborough

This man has literally seen it all in his long lifetime, and is the best equipped person in the world to explain to us what to do about the extraordinary damage done to the very place that we all call home. His latest work is an “urgent” piece of programming, outlining the devastating changes Sir David has witnessed over recent times. There is a message of hope, but my fear is that unless world leaders take the whole pollution and climate change scenario more seriously, our planet’s ability to sustain life as we know it will be seriously impaired, maybe fatally.

This amazing chap has, sadly, less time than most of us left in his extraordinary life. At this moment, he is, to me, the most important person on this entire globe. We must listen, learn, and act. Not tomorrow, that’s too late. Right now. 

Roger Bara

Otherwise our great-grandchildren and beyond will inherit a nightmare scenario, and I won’t be around to say “Sir David told you so…..” 

The most influential person in the world today 

 Yes, who is this person? 

I won’t talk about political world leaders, only briefly, as now there’s no such figure. For example, Putin looks like a strongman but he is hated by too many and he’s too edgy, he’s got no positive agenda. 

Joe Biden? You’re kidding. I would probably say Trump had he been re-elected but… this dementia-struck dude… 100 per cent not. I’d be surprised if he would make it to the end of his term – the first and the last anyway: the weakest US President on my memory and, probably, of all time. 

I could go on and on but let’s just cut it short: 

Elon Musk. 

Elon Musk

This man truly fascinates me. He is from another planet, another universe. His net worth is $175,000,000,000 as of March 16, 2021. 

But this is the least thing in him that impresses me. 

Born in South Africa. Moved to Canada and, finally, to the United States. Invented Pay Pal. Then went on to SpaceX and Tesla. 

Imagine a rocket that returns to Earth vertically, just like it blasted off. This is truly a sci-fi to me. I wouldn’t have believed it could be done when I heard about it for the first time. But it’s working. It’s just a question of time when it will be finally smoothed out and ready for regular service. 

Tesla – I love V8 engines and not sure that e-cars could fully substitute it when it comes to heavy duty cases but who knows… Technologically the future belongs to Tesla-like cars. By the way, I recently heard that Tesla’s stock exchange’s net worth equals the net worth of all the other carmakers combined: but this information must be fact-checked. Still, it shows Elon’s potential. 

His Mars/SpaceX plans to me are the biggest visionary thing I’ve ever heard of. I don’t know if Elon would realize his colonization plans to some degree but if this happens he would make history. In 2024 he plans an unmanned mission and a manned one in 2026.

Our Rusuk Blog writer Sergey

He is inspiration for so many people in the world, I guess we’d talk bout millions and millions. I personally know such people in Russia. He is a unique combination of an applied science enthusiast with great business skills and something intangible that makes him a truly visionary. 

Just imagine colonization of Mars: what a curious mind. Elon truly stands out. 

The New Robber Barrons

One-hundred and fifty years ago, my nation was dominated by a group of incredibly rich men collectively known as The Robber Barrons. They created wealth through the construction of railroads, pipelines, oilfields, and any number of business ventures.

My point here is that they created wealth by creating needed infrastructure. Today most of the world is in the thrall of a new class of Robber Barron, a group of men who create nothing, give nothing, and take all.

Mark Xuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is the poster child of this group for a reason: he is singular in his arrogance. When summoned to appear before the UK Parliament, he simply announced that he was too busy and couldn’t be bothered. Two weeks ago the nation of Australia stepped out of line; he reminded them who was actually in charge by shutting out all information outlets, including Emergency Services, from what has become the new Public Square.

The difference between Facebook and Google, Twitter, et all, is that Facebook alone considers itself to be above all laws and nations. When some fool US congress flunky, I think his title is Chairman of House Anti-trust Subcommittee or something, suggested that Facebook should be broken-up, Zuckerberg said in a staff meeting that Facebook’s lawyers could deal with the US Government and Facebook will not be affected. 

All this break-up stuff doesn’t address the problem: Zuckerberg himself. Simply stripping Zuk of Instagram and WhatApp will have no effect on the Facebook algorithm. Facebook is focused on keeping people on the platform as long as possible, period. The way to do that is to enrage readers.

But why make people angry? According to Technology Review “The reason is simple. Everything the company does and chooses not to do flows from a single motivation: Zuckerberg’s relentless desire for growth…. Facebook leadership has also repeatedly weakened or halted many initiatives meant to clean up misinformation on the platform because doing so would undermine that growth.

“This means every toxic post that escapes the content-moderation filters will continue to be pushed higher up the news feed and promoted to reach a larger audience. Indeed, a study from New York University recently found that among partisan publishers’ Facebook pages, those that regularly posted political misinformation received the most engagement in the lead-up to the 2020 US presidential election and the Capitol riots.”

The Atlantic Magazine adds “Twenty-five years ago, the political scientist Robert Putnam was already describing the decline of what he called “social capital” in the U.S.: the disappearance of clubs and committees, community and solidarity. As internet platforms allow Americans to experience the world through a lonely, personalized lens, this problem has morphed into something altogether different.

“Conversation in this new American public sphere is governed not by established customs and traditions in service of democracy but by rules set by a few for-profit companies in service of their needs and revenues. “

So, I nominate Mark Zuckerberg as the most influential person in the world today and that’s no compliment. He will never accept even the slightest responsibility for what he has done but he is responsible for the destruction of social norms in my country as surely as he put that fire extinguisher through the Police Officer’s skull himself. He is every bit as responsible for the deaths at the Capitol as Donald but he will never face any consequences for what he has done. And unlike the Robber Barrons of old, he gives nothing in return.

Photograph of Dean Lewis