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Debates about accountability and legitimacy will end in a cul-de-sac if they proceed by attempting to apply the domestic analogy to world politics.  In democratic nations, the existence of a clearly defined public provides the responses to the fundamental questions about accountability: 1) what constitutes an abuse and why? and 2) who is entitled to hold power-wielders accountable and why?  Power is abused whenever it is used for private of partial interests contrary to the interests of the public.  And the public is entitled to hold power-wielders accountable in a democratic nation for abuses of power, either as the source of that power (the delegation model) or as the body affected by it (the participation model) or both.  On the global level, there is no public that can function in this way – to provide answers to the fundamental questions about accountability and to ground the justification for accountability mechanisms of  a democratic type.

For this reason, to increase the participation of those affected by global powers will require new, pragmatic approaches.  “Those affected” might be defined in some cases as those subject to a rule or regulation promulgated by a transnational organization.  In other cases, it might mean publics in a particular region.  Improved mechanisms for participation could range from processes akin to “notice and comment” provisions in administrative law to the increased transparency necessary for public scrutiny in the media. Increased domestic democracy can be an important form of  participation in global politics in cases where states are the primary actors in international organizations or where global policies must be implemented by state action.  Of course, domestic democracy can work well to make governments accountable to their citizens and, at the same time, work against the interests of people

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