This article provides a cross-national examination of Thai and Australian political responses to rural social and economic inequity during the period 1997-2007 using an historical lens. It highlights different policy approaches and their philosophical underpinnings. Both the National Party and Thai Rak Thai Party shared similar policy positions. Village funds and rural community development programmes were aimed at providing capital to encourage the establishment of new enterprises or partnerships in building infrastructure. In some respects they were compensationary for changes in global agricultural commodity trading conditions and an acknowledgement that markets fail producers in the rural sector. The contrast between Thai and Australian approaches to rural policy is in the philosophy of 'Sufficiency Economy'. A philosophy rejected by the Thai Rak Thai Party, Sufficiency Economy, was essentially building upon long held peasant traditions.