In the context of the changing socio-economic position of agriculture, this paper is concerned with the governmental relations associated with managing the decoupling of society from economy and the ensuing question about how the economic base can be adequately utilised to ensure continued material sustenance for the community. Central to these challenges is the role of social policy in co-ordinating processes of change against society's capacity for change, taking into account the increasing realisation that the both the capacity of the planet and its economies are finite. Localism is increasingly being promoted as a key social strategy which communities can use to address their needs to secure material sustenance. Under this form of localism, communities are required to secure their own socio-economic sustainability by taking an entrepreneurial approach to developing their local assets and resources. Societies are facing questions about the viability of both interventionist and market-based approaches for ensuring the continued sustenance of given communities. But, since localism does not have the capacity effectively to deal with the question of the carrying capacity of the economic or environmental base at a societal level, one must query the extent to which faith can be maintained in localism as an effective strategy for the future.