Infrastructure and Freedom of Movement

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These two factors rarely count as prerequisites for democracy. This is, most likely, because in the West we take them so much for granted that we do not give them much thought.

A well-functioning society, however, requires a well-functioning infrastructure to ensure the unimpeded movement of people, goods and information. This means, first and foremost, the absence of tariff barriers, town gates or similar institutions which prevent people from travelling or meeting with each other as they please.

Just as important, however, are roads, telephones, public transportation, mail delivery, radio, television and effective access to the Internet that everyone can afford. Also, the government must not censor the media. In countries lacking adequate means of communication among the citizenry, conditions for democracy are poor. Whenever participation in the modern democratic process requires access to the Internet or to computer equipment, if such access is not affordable to everyone, democracy faces new and serious challenges.

Next chapter: The General Public