There are definitive roles for governments in food supply chains,1 but maximum limits need to be enforced. Alternatively, governments need to promote competition to ensure proper functioning of the price mechanism. Synergies need to be established without role and function encroachment occurring. John Locke argued for governmental separation of powers as early as the seventeenth

century, and intimated that such separation of power might only occur through revolution and not devolution.2 It was the height of European empire building with centralized power structures. Locke’s anticipated revolution came within the next 100 years. A confluence of non-interventionist ideas occurred in 1776, with the American

War of Independence, Adam Smith publishing his inquiry into The Wealth of Nations in Britain, and Turgot’s deregulatory food chain policies in France.3 All three events seriously questioned the authoritative extent of government and licensed monopoly agencies, and sought defined limits of government power and taxation with constitutional balances. French debt over their involvement in the US War of Independence and increases

in the dreaded French gabelle salt tax led to the French Revolution in 1789.4 The predictions of both Locke and Turgot became a reality with rioting against government bread pricing and shortages.5 More broader anti-intervention sentiment was expressed in the freer market philosophies of David Ricardo, Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, Jean-Baptiste Say, and John Stuart Mill during the first half of the nineteenth century. If consumers make the ultimate decisions over what is purchased and eaten,6 it is

rational to assume that they should have the dominant control over the food supply chain, with lesser control by farmers, food manufacturers, and government. It is the pull in the supply chain rather than the push that ultimately determines the functionality of food supply chains. Consumers provide the guiding ‘invisible hand’7 as to what, where, when, and how products are demanded in the supply chain.