Over the last decade we have been conducting research activities in many village research camps and accumulating knowledge about the development of different villages. There is a gradually strengthening assumption that the development possibilities in the analysed villages will be affected significantly by the condition of the local society. In the study, we primarily focused on the experiences gained in the Romanian and Hungarian village research camps, where we were studing the local society and the history of development of thevillages. The main question was whether their development was determined by strategy, good luck and good position, or by the quality of the local society. Thefollowing methods were used during the research: processing and analysis of data available at the site and in databases, questionnaire surveys, interviews and participant observations. In case of statistical data, we relied primarily on the applications of the National Spatial Development and Territorial Information System (TeIR) and on the databases of the Territorial Statistical Data System (T-STAR) operated by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO). With the help of the development history of the settlements, we drew general conclusions about the functioning of endogenous resources and social capital. We concluded that without a strong local society the local development initiatives could fail.