The key issues discussed in the article are the meaning and perception of the role and function of money by the rural community in the past and at present, as well as the manner of organisation of work and ways of perceiving the market, goods and values in the light of scientific concepts relating to the economic rationality and cultural specificity of the Polish rural community. The authoress outlines various ways of ethnological approach to these issues. She compares the views of Polish ethnologists who deal with such problems (e.g. the classical concept of collaboration formulated by K. Zawistowicz-Adamska) with conclusions formulated by the British researcher F. Pine on the basis of results of her investigations carried out in the mountain region of Podhale in Poland during the last 30 years of the 20th century. Summing up she points to some questions that ought to be taken up by ethnologists analysing the problems of the rural community and, especially, the problems of cultural and local values, in the context of the market and EU rules which exert a particularly specific influence on the areas characterised by a rich local tradition.