I'm adding this several days after writing the rest: Tibor Machan explains how socialism (and I would argue any centralist approach) ends up with an elite, and why it is counterproductive. It's just that good.
Once upon a time, only certain people, feudal lords, could own property, and it was a grant of some king or other. Everyone else rented. If a renter grew wheat on his little plot, that was fine, and he could use the milled wheat to pay his rent to the land lord who owned the property.
But the land lord, with the power of law (his law, his enforcers) forbade one's milling of his own wheat, and owned the only mill that the farmer was allowed to use to mill his wheat. And of course, the lord charged for the use of the mill, and this also allowed the lord to know how much grain the farmer had grown and thus how much "tax" to apply to the farmer in addition to rent and milling charges.
If you had a good lord, who understood how to keep a balance... understood how to use this system sustainably and hadn't overdrawn his own accounts with his overlord(s), then perhaps you had a good life and could prosper.
But, as history has born out, few lords with this kind of power are thus good; as the saying goes, "absolute power corrupts absolutely."
And this was why several colonies of upstarts insisted that the government could not justifiably and, as they arranged, legally establish people to be lords of this ilk; they said that all men are created equal, that the law was above any individual and had to be the same for all in the society. In the government installed by these upstarts, no government official could become a lord and controller of others, a law unto himself. And the people outlawed titles like "king," "lord," "baron," and so forth.
I am, of course, talking about the colonies that became the united states of America.
Enter the food police: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig13/salatin1.1.1.html
No, certainly this is not the first area of endeavor in the U.S. to be re-feudalized and the feudalization of it excused away as a necessary economic or public safety mechanism.
How is it feudalized? Well, when it requires a license to sell (or give away) your garden ripe tomatoes, you're having to pay a fealty to the licensing organization and its constituents, which constituents almost always include one or more "influential" corporations who utilize the regulatory agency as a means of vetting and eliminating dangerous competitors large and small. Thus, they direct consumer traffic to themselves. Sometimes, they direct licensee traffic to themselves, whereas licensing establishes a compliance with a process for which the influential organization is the only accepted producer.
There are many angles that can be used... and are indeed being used. Effectively, such influential organizations, who usually got their influence by buying off some high level (or not so high level) government employee, become lords not much different, albeit more subtle and more hidden, than the feudal lord mentioned above.
If one defines a system by what it does, that is, uses "operational" definitions, then licensing is pretty much feudalism, just refined.
And so, look at pretty well all licensing and much of regulatory law as a de facto feudalist endeavor. Or there's another word for it: fascism. And another: mercantilism. Still more: corporatism, crony capitalism. They are just alternate words for a system that consistently favors a certain group as an elite, a corps of "leaders" who "guide" development... thus certain producers are given favorable conditions--the playing field is tilted in their favor.
"Government/industry partnership" (or collaboration), which we often hear touted, is nothing else. Which ends up working out to: you own it, you tell us how to control it, which means you have a competitive advantage by our laws that make life difficult for your competitors or would-be competitors; we make it hard for them to enter the industry or market and we make it hard for them to survive, based on your advice.
This system, as noted above, is often called mercantilism. And yet, in practice, it works the very same way as feudalism and fascism. In fact, it would appear that all these names for the same thing are just conjured up to obfuscate that the people are getting bent over in a serious way.
Take a look at the article linked above: the U.S. courts have failed to put a stop to Monsanto's trespass and have, in fact, found in favor of Monsanto, describing its trespass as a basis for collecting royalties from the victims of the trespass! Monsanto big, farmer small, consumer even smaller. The class of lords is reinstated. In America, this is an outrage.
Moreover, licensing for raw foods? Are you kidding me? No, I know you're not. Laws now exist in the U.S. that say that you can't share your garden produce with your neighbor, and god (or perhaps that would be lord) forbid you should sell it! How DARE you? So licensing law means you've shown fealty to the lords and now you can grow and sell. But it cost you both in terms of resources (money, time, effort, and effort to comply) and in terms of the freedom to grow what you want to grow, how you want to grow it.
The only law about agriculture should be that you are honest about what you're growing, how you cultivated it, and any caveats that apply. I.e., is it GMO? Did you use endless amounts of Roundup on it? But once again, our government serves the interests of Big-ass, bad-ass Monsanto, who hasn't done any valid testing on GMOs and has fought tooth and nail for real research to be silenced.
The shining hope is that all the research that's coming out despite Monsanto's power will ultimately break that power, demolish their imperial reign, and lead to changes that restore some semblance of a free market to the U.S. and also break them down for the rest of the world as well.
Monsanto is not an example of the free market in action; it is an example of "crony capitalism" which is just another brand of fascism, feudalism, mercantilism and the government-industry partnership.
Coming back around: Monsanto is one of those influential cronies of the sick pseudo-capitalism model that has taken over the U.S. This goes on with other companies in other industries and some have asserted, having done research, that when you scratch the surface and find out who owns these companies, you find a lot of the same faces behind them--certain families, who have been owners for centuries, are at the helm, manipulating the whole world, and people too, as their little crop, to be raised, used, cut down and discarded at will. Hence, GMOs and other deadly products.
It pays to discover that one is in the Matrix, but a particularly nasty one.