There is a "public arena" in which, in principle, individuals can participate in decisions that involve the general society: how public revenues are obtained and used, what foreign policy will be, etc. In a world of nationstates, the public arena is primarily governmental, at various levels. Democracy functions insofar as individuals can participate meaningfully in the public arena, meanwhile running their own affairs, individually and collectively, without illegitimate interference by concentrations of power. Functioning democracy presupposes relative equality in access to resources--material, informational, and other--a truism as old as Aristotle. In theory, governments are instituted to serve their "domestic constituencies" and are to be subject to their will. A measure of functioning democracy, then, is the extent to which the theory approximates reality, and the "domestic constituencies" approximate the population.
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