This paper investigates the relationship between economic and social development. Contrary to the view of those who believe in the existence of a tradeoff between democracy and growth, the paper contends that consensus-building, open dialog and the promotion of an active civil society are key ingredients to long-term sustainable development. Development is a participatory process. "Best practices" or reforms that are imposed on a country through conditionality may very well fail to produce lasting change. The ywill tend to undermine people's incentives to develop their own capacities and weaken their confidence in using their own intelligence. Success in a knowledge-based economy requires a highly-educated citizenry, involved in the process of shaping and adapting ideas and policies. Participation and democracy in turn call for greater transparency and accountability in both the corporate and government sectors.