Property

Property, in the abstract, is what belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of said thing. In the context of this article, it is one or more components (rather than attributes), whether physical or incorporeal, of a person's estate; or so belonging to, as in being owned by, a person or jointly a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation or even a society. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property has the right to consume, alter, share, redefine, rent, mortgage, pawn, sell, exchange, transfer, give away or destroy it, or to exclude others from doing these things,[1][2][3] as well as to perhaps abandon it; whereas regardless of the nature of the property, the owner thereof has the right to properly use it (as a durable, mean or factor, or whatever), or at the very least exclusively keep it.

In economics and political economy, there are three broad forms of property: private property, public property, and collective property (also called cooperative property).[4]

Property that jointly belongs to more than one party may be possessed or controlled thereby in very similar or very distinct ways, whether simply or complexly, whether equally or unequally. However, there is an expectation that each party's will (rather discretion) with regard to the property be clearly defined and unconditional, so as to distinguish ownership and easement from rent. The parties might expect their wills to be unanimous, or alternately every given one of them, when no opportunity for or possibility of dispute with any other of them exists, may expect his, her, its or their own will to be sufficient and absolute.

The Restatement (First) of Property defines property as anything, tangible or intangible whereby a legal relationship between persons and the state enforces a possessory interest or legal title in that thing. This mediating relationship between individual, property and state is called a property regime.[5]

In sociology and anthropology, property is often defined as a relationship between two or more individuals and an object, in which at least one of these individuals holds a bundle of rights over the object. The distinction between "collective property" and "private property" is regarded as a confusion since different individuals often hold differing rights over a single object.[6][7]

Important widely recognized types of property include real property (the combination of land and any improvements to or on the land), personal property (physical possessions belonging to a person), private property (property owned by legal persons, business entities or individual natural persons), public property (state owned or publicly owned and available possessions) and intellectual property (exclusive rights over artistic creations, inventions, etc.), although the last is not always as widely recognized or enforced.[8] An article of property may have physical and incorporeal parts. A title, or a right of ownership, establishes the relation between the property and other persons, assuring the owner the right to dispose of the property as the owner sees fit.

Overview

Often property is defined by the code of the local sovereignty, and protected wholly or more usually partially by such entity, the owner being responsible for any remainder of protection. The standards of proof concerning proofs of ownerships are also addressed by the code of the local sovereignty, and such entity plays a role accordingly, typically somewhat managerial. Some philosophers assert that property rights arise from social convention, while others find justifications for them in morality or in natural law.

Various scholarly disciplines (such as law, economics, anthropology or sociology) may treat the concept more systematically, but definitions vary, most particularly when involving contracts. Positive law defines such rights, and the judiciary can adjudicate and enforce property rights.

According to Adam Smith, the expectation of profit from "improving one's stock of capital" rests on private property rights.[9] Capitalism has as a central assumption that property rights encourage their holders to develop the property, generate wealth, and efficiently allocate resources based on the operation of markets. From this has evolved the modern conception of property as a right enforced by positive law, in the expectation that this will produce more wealth and better standards of living. However, Smith also expressed a very critical view on the effects of property laws on inequality:

"Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality … Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all."[10] (Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations)

In his text The Common Law, Oliver Wendell Holmes describes property as having two fundamental aspects. The first, possession, can be defined as control over a resource based on the practical inability of another to contradict the ends of the possessor. The second, title, is the expectation that others will recognize rights to control resource, even when it is not in possession. He elaborates the differences between these two concepts, and proposes a history of how they came to be attached to persons, as opposed to families or to entities such as the church.

  • Classical liberalism subscribes to the labor theory of property. They hold that individuals each own their own life, it follows that one must own the products of that life, and that those products can be traded in free exchange with others.
"Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself." (John Locke, Second Treatise on Civil Government)
"The reason why men enter into society is the preservation of their property." (John Locke, Second Treatise on Civil Government)
"Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." (Frédéric Bastiat, The Law)
  • Conservatism subscribes to the concept that freedom and property are closely linked. That the more widespread the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a state or nation. Economic leveling of property, conservatives maintain, especially of the forced kind, is not economic progress.
"Separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all... Upon the foundation of private property, great civilizations are built... The conservative acknowledges that the possession of property fixes certain duties upon the possessor; he accepts those moral and legal obligations cheerfully." (Russell Kirk, The Politics of Prudence)
  • Socialism's fundamental principles center on a critique of this concept, stating (among other things) that the cost of defending property exceeds the returns from private property ownership, and that, even when property rights encourage their holders to develop their property or generate wealth, they do so only for their own benefit, which may not coincide with benefit to other people or to society at large.
  • Libertarian socialism generally accepts property rights, but with a short abandonment period. In other words, a person must make (more-or-less) continuous use of the item or else lose ownership rights. This is usually referred to as "possession property" or "usufruct". Thus, in this usufruct system, absentee ownership is illegitimate and workers own the machines or other equipment that they work with.
  • Communism argues that only collective ownership of the means of production through a polity (though not necessarily a state) will assure the minimization of unequal or unjust outcomes and the maximization of benefits, and that therefore humans should abolish private ownership of capital (as opposed to property).

Both communism and some kinds of socialism have also upheld the notion that private ownership of capital is inherently illegitimate. This argument centers mainly on the idea that private ownership of capital always benefits one class over another, giving rise to domination through the use of this privately owned capital. Communists do not oppose personal property that is "hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned" (as the Communist Manifesto puts it) by members of the proletariat. Both socialism and communism distinguish carefully between private ownership of capital (land, factories, resources, etc.) and private property (homes, material objects and so forth).

Types of property

Most legal systems distinguish between different types of property, especially between land (immovable property, estate in land, real estate, real property) and all other forms of property—goods and chattels, movable property or personal property, including the value of legal tender if not the legal tender itself, as the manufacturer rather than the possessor might be the owner. They often distinguish tangible and intangible property. One categorization scheme specifies three species of property: land, improvements (immovable man-made things), and personal property (movable man-made things).

In common law, real property (immovable property) is the combination of interests in land and improvements thereto, and personal property is interest in movable property. Real property rights are rights relating to the land. These rights include ownership and usage. Owners can grant rights to persons and entities in the form of leases, licenses and easements.

Throughout the last centuries of the second millennium, with the development of more complex theories of property, the concept of personal property had become divided into tangible property (such as cars and clothing) and intangible property (such as financial instruments, including stocks and bonds; intellectual property, including patents, copyrights and trademarks; digital files; communication channels; and certain forms of identifier, including Internet domain names, some forms of network address, some forms of handle and again trademarks).

Treatment of intangible property is such that an article of property is, by law or otherwise by traditional conceptualization, subject to expiration even when inheritable, which is a key distinction from tangible property. Upon expiration, the property, if of the intellectual category, becomes a part of public domain, to be used by but not owned by anybody, and possibly used by more than one party simultaneously due the inapplicability of scarcity to intellectual property. Whereas things such as communications channels and pairs of electromagnetic spectrum band and signal transmission power can only be used by a single party at a time, or a single party in a divisible context, if owned or used at all. Thus far or usually those are not considered property, or at least not private property, even though the party bearing right of exclusive use may transfer that right to another.

Related concepts

Of the following, only sale and at-will sharing involve no encumbrance.

General meaning or description Actor Complementary notion Complementary actor
Sale Giving of property or ownership, but in exchange for money (units of some form of currency). Seller Buying Buyer
Sharing Sharing Allowing use of property, whether exclusive or as a joint operation. Host Accommodation Guest
  Tenancy Tenant
Rent Allowing limited and temporary but potentially renewable, exclusive use of property, but in exchange for compensation.   Renter
  Lease Leasee
Licensure Licensor
Incorporeal division Incorporeal division Better known as nonpossessory interest or variation of the same notion, of which an instance may be given to another party, which is itself an incorporeal form of property. The particular interest may easily be destroyed once it and the property are owned by the same party. N/A
Share Aspect of property whereby ownership or equity of a particular portion of all property (stock) ever to be produced from it may be given to another party, which is itself an incorporeal form of property. The share may easily be destroyed once it and the property are owned by the same party.
Easement Aspect of property whereby right of particular use of it may be given to another party, which is itself an incorporeal form of property. The easement or use-right may easily be destroyed once it and the property are owned by the same party.
Lien Lien Condition whereby unencumbered ownership of property is contingent upon completion of obligation; the property being collateral and associated with security interest in such an arrangement. Lienor Lieneeship Lienee
Mortgage Condition whereby while possession of property is achieved or retained, possession of it is contingent upon performance of obligation to somebody indebted to, and unencumbered ownership of it is contingent upon completion of obligation. The performance of obligation usually implies division of the principal into installments. Mortgagor Mortgage-brokering Mortgage-broker
Pawn Condition whereby while encumbered ownership of property is achieved or retained, encumbered ownership of it is contingent upon performance of obligation to somebody indebted to, and possession and unencumbered ownership of it is contingent upon completion of obligation. Pledge Pawnbrokering Pawnbroker
Collision
(Conflict)
Inability for property to be properly used or occupied due to scarcity or contradiction, the effective impossibility of sharing; possibly leading to eviction or the contrary, if resolution is achieved rather than a stagnant condition; not necessarily involving or implying conscious dispute. N/A
Security
(Ward)
Degree of resistance to or protection from harm, use or taking; the property and any mechanisms of protection of it being ward. (Alternately, in finance, the word as a countable noun refers to proof of ownership of investment instruments, or as an uncountable noun to collateral.) In general, there may be an involvement of obscurities, camouflage, barriers, armor, locks, alarms, booby traps, homing beacons, automated recorders, decoys, weaponry or sentinels.
  • With land; moats, trenches or entire buildings may be involved.
  • With buildings or certain forms of transport, turrets may be involved.
  • With information; encryption, steganography or self-destruct capability may be involved.
  • With communications reliability, channel-hopping may be involved, as immunity or attempt thereat from jamming.
  • With devices of proprietary design, the respective compositions of them may be more mangled, more convoluted and more complex than functionality warrants, hence confusing or obscure for protective purposes (though possibly to conceal unapproved copying instead).
  • With contractual rights; retentions of collateral and risks of jeopardy of collateral may be involved.
Securer Protecteeship Protectee
Warden Ward

Violation

General meaning or description, the act occurring in a way not beholden to the wishes of the owner Committer
Trespassing Use of physical and usually but not necessarily only immovable property or occupation of it. Trespasser
Vandalism Alteration, damage or destruction of physical property or to the appearance of it. Vandal
Infringement (Incorporeal analogy to trespassing.) Alteration or duplication of an instance of intellectual property, and publication of the respectively alternate or duplicate; the instance being the information in a medium or a device for which a design plan predates and is the basis of fabrication. Infringer
Violation Violator
Theft Taking of property in a way that excludes the owner from it, or active alteration of the ownership of property. Thief
Piracy The cognisant or incognisant reproduction and distribution of intellectual property as well as the possession of intellectual property that saw publication of its duplicates in the aforementioned process.
Infringement with the effect of lost profits for the owner or infringement involving profit or personal gain.
Plagiarism Publication of a work, whether it is intellectual property (perhaps copyrighted) or not, whether it is in public domain or not, without credit being afforded to the creator, as though the work is original in publication. Plagiarist

Miscellaneous action

General meaning or description Committer
Squatting Occupation of property that either is unused and unkept or was abandoned, whether the property still has an owner or not. (If the property is owned and not abandoned, then the squatting is trespassing, if any usage not beholden to the wishes of the owner is done in the process.) Squatter
Reverse engineering Discovery of how a device works, whether it is an instance of intellectual property (perhaps patented) or not, whether it is in public domain or not, and of how to alter or duplicate it, without access to or knowledge of the corresponding design plan. Reverse engineer
Ghostwriting Creation of a textual work, whereby in publication, another party is explicitly allowed to be credited as creator. Ghostwriter

Issues in property theory

What can be property?

The two major justifications given for original property, or the homestead principle, are effort and scarcity. John Locke emphasized effort, "mixing your labor"[11] with an object, or clearing and cultivating virgin land. Benjamin Tucker preferred to look at the telos of property, i.e. What is the purpose of property? His answer: to solve the scarcity problem. Only when items are relatively scarce with respect to people's desires do they become property.[12] For example, hunter-gatherers did not consider land to be property, since there was no shortage of land. Agrarian societies later made arable land property, as it was scarce. For something to be economically scarce it must necessarily have the exclusivity property—that use by one person excludes others from using it. These two justifications lead to different conclusions on what can be property. Intellectual property—incorporeal things like ideas, plans, orderings and arrangements (musical compositions, novels, computer programs)—are generally considered valid property to those who support an effort justification, but invalid to those who support a scarcity justification, since the things don't have the exclusivity property (however, those who support a scarcity justification may still support other "intellectual property" laws such as Copyright, as long as these are a subject of contract instead of government arbitration). Thus even ardent propertarians may disagree about IP.[13] By either standard, one's body is one's property.

From some anarchist points of view, the validity of property depends on whether the "property right" requires enforcement by the state. Different forms of "property" require different amounts of enforcement: intellectual property requires a great deal of state intervention to enforce, ownership of distant physical property requires quite a lot, ownership of carried objects requires very little, while ownership of one's own body requires absolutely no state intervention. Some anarchists don't believe in property at all.

Many things have existed that did not have an owner, sometimes called the commons. The term "commons," however, is also often used to mean something quite different: "general collective ownership"—i.e. common ownership. Also, the same term is sometimes used by statists to mean government-owned property that the general public is allowed to access (public property). Law in all societies has tended to develop towards reducing the number of things not having clear owners. Supporters of property rights argue that this enables better protection of scarce resources, due to the tragedy of the commons, while critics argue that it leads to the 'exploitation' of those resources for personal gain and that it hinders taking advantage of potential network effects. These arguments have differing validity for different types of "property"—things that are not scarce are, for instance, not subject to the tragedy of the commons. Some apparent critics advocate general collective ownership rather than ownerlessness.

Things that do not have owners include: ideas (except for intellectual property), seawater (which is, however, protected by anti-pollution laws), parts of the seafloor (see the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea for restrictions), gases in Earth's atmosphere, animals in the wild (although in most nations, animals are tied to the land. In the United States and Canada wildlife are generally defined in statute as property of the state. This public ownership of wildlife is referred to as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and is based on The Public Trust Doctrine.[14]), celestial bodies and outer space, and land in Antarctica.

The nature of children under the age of majority is another contested issue here. In ancient societies children were generally considered the property of their parents. Children in most modern societies theoretically own their own bodies but are not considered competent to exercise their rights, and their parents or guardians are given most of the actual rights of control over them.

Questions regarding the nature of ownership of the body also come up in the issue of abortion, drugs and euthanasia.

In many ancient legal systems (e.g. early Roman law), religious sites (e.g. temples) were considered property of the God or gods they were devoted to. However, religious pluralism makes it more convenient to have religious sites owned by the religious body that runs them.

Intellectual property and air (airspace, no-fly zone, pollution laws, which can include tradable emissions rights) can be property in some senses of the word.

Ownership of land can be held separately from the ownership of rights over that land, including sporting rights,[15] mineral rights, development rights, air rights, and such other rights as may be worth segregating from simple land ownership.

Who can be an owner?

Ownership laws may vary widely among countries depending on the nature of the property of interest (e.g. firearms, real property, personal property, animals). Persons can own property directly. In most societies legal entities, such as corporations, trusts and nations (or governments) own property.

In many countries women have limited access to property following restrictive inheritance and family laws, under which only men have actual or formal rights to own property.

In the Inca empire, the dead emperors, who were considered gods, still controlled property after death.[16]

Whether and to what extent the state may interfere with property

In 17th-century England, the legal directive that nobody may enter a home, which in the 17th-century would typically have been male owned, unless by the owners invitation or consent, was established as common law in Sir Edward Coke’s Institutes of the Lawes of England. "For a man's house is his castle, et domus sua cuique est tutissimum refugium [and each man's home is his safest refuge]." It is the origin of the famous dictum, “an Englishman’s home is his castle”.[17] The ruling enshrined into law what several English writers had espoused in the 16th-century.[17] Unlike the rest of Europe the British had a proclivity towards owning their own homes.[17] British Prime Minister William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham defined the meaning of castle in 1763, "The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail – its roof may shake – the wind may blow through it – the storm may enter – the rain may enter – but the King of England cannot enter."[17]

A principle exported to the United States, under U.S. law the principal limitations on whether and the extent to which the State may interfere with property rights are set by the Constitution. The "Takings" clause requires that the government (whether state or federal—for the 14th Amendment's due process clause imposes the 5th Amendment's takings clause on state governments) may take private property only for a public purpose, after exercising due process of law, and upon making "just compensation." If an interest is not deemed a "property" right or the conduct is merely an intentional tort, these limitations do not apply and the doctrine of sovereign immunity precludes relief.[18] Moreover, if the interference does not almost completely make the property valueless, the interference will not be deemed a taking but instead a mere regulation of use.[19] On the other hand, some governmental regulations of property use have been deemed so severe that they have been considered "regulatory takings."[20] Moreover, conduct sometimes deemed only a nuisance or other tort has been held a taking of property where the conduct was sufficiently persistent and severe.[21]

Theories

There exist many theories of property. One is the relatively rare first possession theory of property, where ownership of something is seen as justified simply by someone seizing something before someone else does.[22] Perhaps one of the most popular is the natural rights definition of property rights as advanced by John Locke. Locke advanced the theory that God granted dominion over nature to man through Adam in the book of Genesis. Therefore, he theorized that when one mixes one’s labor with nature, one gains a relationship with that part of nature with which the labor is mixed, subject to the limitation that there should be "enough, and as good, left in common for others." (see Lockean proviso)[23]

From the RERUM NOVARUM, Pope Leo XIII wrote "It is surely undeniable that, when a man engages in remunerative labor, the impelling reason and motive of his work is to obtain property, and thereafter to hold it as his very own."

Anthropology studies the diverse systems of ownership, rights of use and transfer, and possession[24] under the term "theories of property." Western legal theory is based, as mentioned, on the owner of property being a legal person. However, not all property systems are founded on this basis.

In every culture studied ownership and possession are the subject of custom and regulation, and "law" where the term can meaningfully be applied. Many tribal cultures balance individual ownership with the laws of collective groups: tribes, families, associations and nations. For example, the 1839 Cherokee Constitution frames the issue in these terms:

Sec. 2. The lands of the Cherokee Nation shall remain common property; but the improvements made thereon, and in the possession of the citizens respectively who made, or may rightfully be in possession of them: Provided, that the citizens of the Nation possessing exclusive and indefeasible right to their improvements, as expressed in this article, shall possess no right or power to dispose of their improvements, in any manner whatever, to the United States, individual States, or to individual citizens thereof; and that, whenever any citizen shall remove with his effects out of the limits of this Nation, and become a citizen of any other government, all his rights and privileges as a citizen of this Nation shall cease: Provided, nevertheless, That the National Council shall have power to re-admit, by law, to all the rights of citizenship, any such person or persons who may, at any time, desire to return to the Nation, on memorializing the National Council for such readmission.

Communal property systems describe ownership as belonging to the entire social and political unit. Such arrangements can under certain conditions erode open access resources. This development has been critiqued by the tragedy of the commons.

Corporate systems describe ownership as being attached to an identifiable group with an identifiable responsible individual. The Roman property law was based on such a corporate system. In a well-known paper that contributed to the creation of the field of law and economics in the late 1960s, the American scholar Harold Demsetz described how the concept of property rights makes social interactions easier:

In the world of Robinson Crusoe property rights play no role. Property rights are an instrument of society and derive their significance from the fact that they help a man form those expectations which he can reasonably hold in his dealings with others. These expectations find expression in the laws, customs, and mores of a society. An owner of property rights possesses the consent of fellowmen to allow him to act in particular ways. An owner expects the community to prevent others from interfering with his actions, provided that these actions are not prohibited in the specifications of his rights.

— Harold Demsetz (1967), "Toward a Theory of Property Rights", The American Economic Review 57 (2), p. 347.[25]

Different societies may have different theories of property for differing types of ownership. Pauline Peters argued that property systems are not isolable from the social fabric, and notions of property may not be stated as such, but instead may be framed in negative terms: for example the taboo system among Polynesian peoples.

Property in philosophy

In medieval and Renaissance Europe the term "property" essentially referred to land. After much rethinking, land has come to be regarded as only a special case of the property genus. This rethinking was inspired by at least three broad features of early modern Europe: the surge of commerce, the breakdown of efforts to prohibit interest (then called "usury"), and the development of centralized national monarchies.

Ancient philosophy

Urukagina, the king of the Sumerian city-state Lagash, established the first laws that forbade compelling the sale of property.[26]

The Ten Commandments shown in Exodus 20:2–17 and Deuteronomy 5:6–21 stated that the Israelites were not to steal, but the connection between Bronze Age concepts of theft and modern concepts of property is suspect.

Aristotle, in Politics, advocates "private property." [27] He argues that self-interest leads to neglect of the commons. "[T]hat which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it. Every one thinks chiefly of his own, hardly at all of the common interest; and only when he is himself concerned as an individual."[28]

In addition he says that when property is common, there are natural problems that arise due to differences in labor: "If they do not share equally enjoyments and toils, those who labor much and get little will necessarily complain of those who labor little and receive or consume much. But indeed there is always a difficulty in men living together and having all human relations in common, but especially in their having common property." (Politics, 1261b34)

Cicero held that there is no private property under natural law but only under human law.[29] Seneca viewed property as only becoming necessary when men become avarice.[30] St. Ambrose latter adopted this view and St. Augustine even derided heretics for complaining the Emperor could not confiscate property they had labored for.[31]

Medieval philosophy

Thomas Aquinas (13th century)

The canon law Decretum Gratiani maintained that mere human law creates property, repeating the phrases used by St. Augustine.[32] St. Thomas Aquinas agreed with regard to the private consumption of property but modified patristic theory in finding that the private possession of property is necessary.[33] Thomas Aquinas concludes that, given certain detailed provisions,[34]

  • it is natural for man to possess external things
  • it is lawful for a man to possess a thing as his own
  • the essence of theft consists in taking another's thing secretly
  • theft and robbery are sins of different species, and robbery is a more grievous sin than theft
  • theft is a sin; it is also a mortal sin
  • it is, however, lawful to steal through stress of need: "in cases of need all things are common property."

Modern philosophy

Thomas Hobbes (17th century)

The principal writings of Thomas Hobbes appeared between 1640 and 1651—during and immediately following the war between forces loyal to King Charles I and those loyal to Parliament. In his own words, Hobbes' reflection began with the idea of "giving to every man his own," a phrase he drew from the writings of Cicero. But he wondered: How can anybody call anything his own? He concluded: My own can only truly be mine if there is one unambiguously strongest power in the realm, and that power treats it as mine, protecting its status as such.[35]

James Harrington (17th century)

A contemporary of Hobbes, James Harrington, reacted to the same tumult in a different way: he considered property natural but not inevitable. The author of Oceana, he may have been the first political theorist to postulate that political power is a consequence, not the cause, of the distribution of property. He said that the worst possible situation is one in which the commoners have half a nation's property, with crown and nobility holding the other half—a circumstance fraught with instability and violence. A much better situation (a stable republic) will exist once the commoners own most property, he suggested.

In later years, the ranks of Harrington's admirers included American revolutionary and founder John Adams.

Robert Filmer (17th century)

Another member of the Hobbes/Harrington generation, Sir Robert Filmer, reached conclusions much like Hobbes', but through Biblical exegesis. Filmer said that the institution of kingship is analogous to that of fatherhood, that subjects are but children, whether obedient or unruly, and that property rights are akin to the household goods that a father may dole out among his children—his to take back and dispose of according to his pleasure.

John Locke (17th century)

In the following generation, John Locke sought to answer Filmer, creating a rationale for a balanced constitution in which the monarch had a part to play, but not an overwhelming part. Since Filmer's views essentially require that the Stuart family be uniquely descended from the patriarchs of the Bible, and since even in the late 17th century that was a difficult view to uphold, Locke attacked Filmer's views in his First Treatise on Government, freeing him to set out his own views in the Second Treatise on Civil Government. Therein, Locke imagined a pre-social world, each of the unhappy residents of which are willing to create a social contract because otherwise "the enjoyment of the property he has in this state is very unsafe, very unsecure," and therefore the "great and chief end, therefore, of men's uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property."[36] They would, he allowed, create a monarchy, but its task would be to execute the will of an elected legislature. "To this end" (to achieve the previously specified goal), he wrote, "it is that men give up all their natural power to the society they enter into, and the community put the legislative power into such hands as they think fit, with this trust, that they shall be governed by declared laws, or else their peace, quiet, and property will still be at the same uncertainty as it was in the state of nature."[37]

Even when it keeps to proper legislative form, though, Locke held that there are limits to what a government established by such a contract might rightly do.

"It cannot be supposed that [the hypothetical contractors] they should intend, had they a power so to do, to give any one or more an absolute arbitrary power over their persons and estates, and put a force into the magistrate's hand to execute his unlimited will arbitrarily upon them; this were to put themselves into a worse condition than the state of nature, wherein they had a liberty to defend their right against the injuries of others, and were upon equal terms of force to maintain it, whether invaded by a single man or many in combination. Whereas by supposing they have given up themselves to the absolute arbitrary power and will of a legislator, they have disarmed themselves, and armed him to make a prey of them when he pleases..."[38]

Note that both "persons and estates" are to be protected from the arbitrary power of any magistrate, inclusive of the "power and will of a legislator." In Lockean terms, depredations against an estate are just as plausible a justification for resistance and revolution as are those against persons. In neither case are subjects required to allow themselves to become prey.

To explain the ownership of property Locke advanced a labor theory of property.

David Hume (18th century)

In contrast to the figures discussed in this section thus far David Hume lived a relatively quiet life that had settled down to a relatively stable social and political structure. He lived the life of a solitary writer until 1763 when, at 52 years of age, he went off to Paris to work at the British embassy.

In contrast, one might think, to his polemical works on religion and his empiricism-driven skeptical epistemology, Hume's views on law and property were quite conservative.

He did not believe in hypothetical contracts, or in the love of mankind in general, and sought to ground politics upon actual human beings as one knows them. "In general," he wrote, "it may be affirmed that there is no such passion in human mind, as the love of mankind, merely as such, independent of personal qualities, or services, or of relation to ourselves." Existing customs should not lightly be disregarded, because they have come to be what they are as a result of human nature. With this endorsement of custom comes an endorsement of existing governments, because he conceived of the two as complementary: "A regard for liberty, though a laudable passion, ought commonly to be subordinate to a reverence for established government."

Therefore, Hume's view was that there are property rights because of and to the extent that the existing law, supported by social customs, secure them.[39] He offered some practical home-spun advice on the general subject, though, as when he referred to avarice as "the spur of industry," and expressed concern about excessive levels of taxation, which "destroy industry, by engendering despair."

Adam Smith

"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is, in reality, instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have property against those who have none at all."

"The property which every man has in his own labour, as it is the original foundation of all other property, so it is the most sacred and inviolable. The patrimony of a poor man lies in the strength and dexterity of his hands; and to hinder him from employing this strength and dexterity in what manner he thinks proper without injury to his neighbour, is a plain violation of this most sacred property. It is a manifest encroachment upon the just liberty both of the workman, and of those who might be disposed to employ him. As it hinders the one from working at what he thinks proper, so it hinders the others from employing whom they think proper. To judge whether he is fit to be employed, may surely be trusted to the discretion of the employers whose interest it so much concerns. The affected anxiety of the law-giver lest they should employ an improper person, is evidently as impertinent as it is oppressive." — (Source: Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776, Book I, Chapter X, Part II.)

By the mid 19th century, the industrial revolution had transformed England and the United States, and had begun in France. The established conception of what constitutes property expanded beyond land to encompass scarce goods in general. In France, the revolution of the 1790s had led to large-scale confiscation of land formerly owned by church and king. The restoration of the monarchy led to claims by those dispossessed to have their former lands returned.

Karl Marx

Section VIII, "Primitive Accumulation" of Capital involves a critique of Liberal Theories of property rights. Marx notes that under Feudal Law, peasants were legally as entitled to their land as the aristocracy was to its manors. Marx cites several historical events in which large numbers of the peasantry were removed from their lands, which were then seized by the aristocracy. This seized land was then used for commercial ventures (sheep heading). Marx sees this "Primitive Accumulation as integral to the creation of English Capitalism. This event created a large unlanded class which had to work for wages in order to survive. Marx asserts that Liberal theories of property are "idyllic" fairy tales that hide a violent historical process.

Charles Comte – legitimate origin of property

Charles Comte, in Traité de la propriété (1834), attempted to justify the legitimacy of private property in response to the Bourbon Restoration. According to David Hart, Comte had three main points: "firstly, that interference by the state over the centuries in property ownership has had dire consequences for justice as well as for economic productivity; secondly, that property is legitimate when it emerges in such a way as not to harm anyone; and thirdly, that historically some, but by no means all, property which has evolved has done so legitimately, with the implication that the present distribution of property is a complex mixture of legitimately and illegitimately held titles."[41]

Comte, as Proudhon later did, rejected Roman legal tradition with its toleration of slavery. He posited a communal "national" property consisting of non-scarce goods, such as land in ancient hunter-gatherer societies. Since agriculture was so much more efficient than hunting and gathering, private property appropriated by someone for farming left remaining hunter-gatherers with more land per person, and hence did not harm them. Thus this type of land appropriation did not violate the Lockean proviso – there was "still enough, and as good left." Comte's analysis would be used by later theorists in response to the socialist critique on property.

Pierre Proudhon – property is theft

In his 1840 treatise What is Property?, Pierre Proudhon answers with "Property is theft!" In natural resources, he sees two types of property, de jure property (legal title) and de facto property (physical possession), and argues that the former is illegitimate. Proudhon's conclusion is that "property, to be just and possible, must necessarily have equality for its condition."

His analysis of the product of labor upon natural resources as property (usufruct) is more nuanced. He asserts that land itself cannot be property, yet it should be held by individual possessors as stewards of mankind with the product of labor being the property of the producer. Proudhon reasoned that any wealth gained without labor was stolen from those who labored to create that wealth. Even a voluntary contract to surrender the product of labor to an employer was theft, according to Proudhon, since the controller of natural resources had no moral right to charge others for the use of that which he did not labor to create and therefore did not own.

Proudhon's theory of property greatly influenced the budding socialist movement, inspiring anarchist theorists such as Mikhail Bakunin who modified Proudhon's ideas, as well as antagonizing theorists like Karl Marx.

Frédéric Bastiat – property is value

Frédéric Bastiat's main treatise on property can be found in chapter 8 of his book Economic Harmonies (1850).[42] In a radical departure from traditional property theory, he defines property not as a physical object, but rather as a relationship between people with respect to an object. Thus, saying one owns a glass of water is merely verbal shorthand for I may justly gift or trade this water to another person. In essence, what one owns is not the object but the value of the object. By "value," Bastiat apparently means market value; he emphasizes that this is quite different from utility. "In our relations with one another, we are not owners of the utility of things, but of their value, and value is the appraisal made of reciprocal services."

Bastiat theorized that, as a result of technological progress and the division of labor, the stock of communal wealth increases over time; that the hours of work an unskilled laborer expends to buy e.g. 100 liters of wheat decreases over time, thus amounting to "gratis" satisfaction.[43] Thus, private property continually destroys itself, becoming transformed into communal wealth. The increasing proportion of communal wealth to private property results in a tendency toward equality of mankind. "Since the human race started from the point of greatest poverty, that is, from the point where there were the most obstacles to be overcome, it is clear that all that has been gained from one era to the next has been due to the spirit of property."

This transformation of private property into the communal domain, Bastiat points out, does not imply that private property will ever totally disappear. This is because man, as he progresses, continually invents new and more sophisticated needs and desires.

Andrew J. Galambos – a precise definition of property

Andrew J. Galambos (1924–1997) was an astrophysicist and philosopher who innovated a social structure that seeks to maximize human peace and freedom. Galambos’ concept of property was basic to his philosophy. He defined property as a man’s life and all non-procreative derivatives of his life. (Because the English language is deficient in omitting the feminine from “man” when referring to humankind, it is implicit and obligatory that the feminine is included in the term “man”.)

Galambos taught that property is essential to a non-coercive social structure. That is why he defined freedom as follows: “Freedom is the societal condition that exists when every individual has full (100%) control over his own property.”[44] Galambos defines property as having the following elements:

  • Primordial property, which is an individual’s life
  • Primary property, which includes ideas, thoughts, and actions
  • Secondary property, which includes all tangible and intangible possessions which are derivatives of the individual's primary property.

Property includes all non-procreative derivatives of an individual’s life; this means children are not the property of their parents.[45] and "primary property" (a person's own ideas).[46]

Galambos emphasized repeatedly that true government exists to protect property and that the state attacks property. For example, the state requires payment for its services in the form of taxes whether or not people desire such services. Since an individual’s money is his property, the confiscation of money in the form of taxes is an attack on property. Military conscription is likewise an attack on a person’s primordial property.

Contemporary views

Contemporary political thinkers who believe that natural persons enjoy rights to own property and to enter into contracts espouse two views about John Locke. On the one hand, some admire Locke, such as William H. Hutt (1956), who praised Locke for laying down the "quintessence of individualism". On the other hand, those such as Richard Pipes regard Locke's arguments as weak, and think that undue reliance thereon has weakened the cause of individualism in recent times. Pipes has written that Locke's work "marked a regression because it rested on the concept of Natural Law" rather than upon Harrington's sociological framework.

Hernando de Soto has argued that an important characteristic of capitalist market economy is the functioning state protection of property rights in a formal property system which clearly records ownership and transactions. These property rights and the whole formal system of property make possible:

  • Greater independence for individuals from local community arrangements to protect their assets
  • Clear, provable, and protectable ownership
  • The standardization and integration of property rules and property information in a country as a whole
  • Increased trust arising from a greater certainty of punishment for cheating in economic transactions
  • More formal and complex written statements of ownership that permit the easier assumption of shared risk and ownership in companies, and insurance against risk
  • Greater availability of loans for new projects, since more things can serve as collateral for the loans
  • Easier access to and more reliable information regarding such things as credit history and the worth of assets
  • Increased fungibility, standardization and transferability of statements documenting the ownership of property, which paves the way for structures such as national markets for companies and the easy transportation of property through complex networks of individuals and other entities
  • Greater protection of biodiversity due to minimizing of shifting agriculture practices

All of the above, according to de Soto, enhance economic growth.[47]

See also

Property-giving (legal)

Property-taking (legal)

Property-taking (illegal)

References

  1. ^ "property definition", BusinessDictionary.com
  2. ^ "property", American Heritage Dictionary
  3. ^ "property", WordNet, retrieved 2010-06-19
  4. ^ Gregory, Paul R.; Stuart, Robert C. (2003). Comparing Economic Systems in the Twenty-First Century. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 27. ISBN 0-618-26181-8. There are three broad forms of property ownership-private, public, and collective (cooperative).
  5. ^ Pellissery, Sony and Dey Biswas, Sattwick (2012) Emerging Property Regimes In India: What It Holds For the Future of Socio-Economic Rights? IRMA Working Paper 234
  6. ^ Graeber, New York: Palgrave (2001) Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams. ISBN 978-0-312-24044-8 "... one might argue that property is a social relation as well, reified in exactly the same way: when one buys a car one is not really purchasing the right to use it so much as the right to prevent others from using it-or, to be even more precise, one is purchasing their recognition that one has the right to do so. But since it is so diffuse a social relation- a contract, in effect, between the owner and everyone else in the entire world-it is easy to think of it as a thing..." (p. 9)
  7. ^ Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Property in Anthropology, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-16. Retrieved 2015-01-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Anti-copyright advocates and other critics of intellectual property dispute the concept of intellectual property.[1].
  9. ^ Understanding the Global Economy, Howard Richards (p. 355). Peace Education Books. 2004. ISBN 978-0-9748961-0-6.
  10. ^ An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations (p. 177). Hackett Publishing Company. 1993. ISBN 0-87220-204-6. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
  11. ^ "John Locke: Second Treatise of Civil Government: Chapter 5". Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  12. ^ "News – WendyMcElroy.com". Archived from the original on 6 July 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Molinari Institute – Anti-Copyright Resources". Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  14. ^ "The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and Public Trust Doctrine". Archived from the original on 2012-01-19. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
  15. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2007-12-31.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Mckay, John P. , 2004, "A History of World Societes". Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company
  17. ^ a b c d "An Englishman's home is his castle". Phrases.org.uk. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  18. ^ See, for example, United States v. Willow River Power Co. (not a property right because force of law not behind it); Schillinger v. United States, 155 U.S. 163 (1894) (patent infringement is tort, not taking of property); Zoltek Corp. v. United States, 442 F.3d 1345 (Fed. Cir. 2006).
  19. ^ Penn Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York, 438 U.S. 104 (1978).
  20. ^ See United States v. Riverside Bayview Homes, 474 U.S. 121 (1985).
  21. ^ United States v. Causby, 328 U.S. 256 (1946).
  22. ^ "Property". Graham Oppy. The shorter Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy. Editor Edward Craig. Routledge, 2005, p. 858
  23. ^ Locke, John (1690). "The Second Treatise of Civil Government". Retrieved 2010-06-26.
  24. ^ Hann, Chris A new double movement? Anthropological perspectives on property in the age of neoliberalism Socio-Economic Review, Volume 5, Number 2, April 2007, pp. 287–318(32)
  25. ^ Cited in Merrill & Smith (2017), pp. 238–39.
  26. ^ Samuel Noah Kramer. From the Tablets of Sumer: Twenty-Five Firsts in Man's Recorded History. Indian Hills: The Falcon's Wing Press, 1956.
  27. ^ "Property and Freedom". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  28. ^ This bears some similarities to the over-use argument of Garrett Hardin's "Tragedy of the Commons".
  29. ^ Carlyle, A.J. (1913). Property: Its Duties and Rights. London: Macmillan. p. 121. Retrieved 4 April 2015. citing Cicero, De officiis, i. 7, "Sunt autem privata nulla natura".
  30. ^ Carlyle, A.J. (1913). Property: Its Duties and Rights. London: Macmillan. p. 122. Retrieved 4 April 2015. citing Seneca, Epistles, xiv, 2.
  31. ^ Carlyle, A.J. (1913). Property: Its Duties and Rights. London: Macmillan. p. 125. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  32. ^ Carlyle, A.J. (1913). Property: Its Duties and Rights. London: Macmillan. p. 127. Retrieved 4 April 2015. citing Decretum, D. viii. Part I.
  33. ^ Carlyle, A.J. (1913). Property: Its Duties and Rights. London: Macmillan. p. 128. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  34. ^ "Summa Theologica: Theft and robbery (Secunda Secundae Partis, Q. 66)". Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  35. ^ "The Origin of Property". Anti Essays. 27 May 2012, <http://www.antiessays.com/free-essays/226947.html>
  36. ^ John Locke, The Second Treatise of Civil Government (1690), Chap. IX, §§ 123–124.
  37. ^ John Locke, The Second Treatise of Civil Government (1690), Chap. XI, § 136.
  38. ^ John Locke, The Second Treatise of Civil Government (1690), Chap. XI, § 137.
  39. ^ This view is reflected in the opinion of the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Willow River Power Co..
  40. ^ An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith, Cooke & Hale, 1818, p. 167
  41. ^ The Radical Liberalism of Charles Comte and Charles Dunoyer Archived 2006-01-30 at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ Bastiat: Economic Harmonies.
  43. ^ "Economic Harmonies (Boyers trans.) – Online Library of Liberty". Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  44. ^ Galambos, Andrew (1999). Sic Itur Ad Astra. San Diego, California: The Universal Scientific Publications Company, Inc. pp. 868–869. ISBN 0-88078-004-5.
  45. ^ Galambos, Andrew (1999). Sic Itur Ad Astra. San Diego, California: The Universal Scientific Publications Company, Inc. p. 23. ISBN 0-88078-004-5.
  46. ^ Galambos, Andrew (1999). Sic Itur Ad Astra. San Diego, California: The Universal Scientific Publications Company, Inc. pp. 39, 52, 84, 92–93, 153, 201, 326. ISBN 0-88078-004-5.
  47. ^ "Finance & Development, March 2001 – The Mystery of Capital". Finance and Development – F&D. Retrieved 14 May 2015.

Bibliography

  • Bastiat, Frédéric, 1850. Economic Harmonies. W. Hayden Boyers.
  • Bastiat, Frédéric, 1850. "The Law", tr. Dean Russell.
  • Bethell, Tom, 1998. The Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity through the Ages. New York: St. Martin's Press.
  • Blackstone, William, 1765–69. Commentaries on the Laws of England, 4 vols. Oxford Univ. Press. Especially Books the Second and Third.
  • De Soto, Hernando, 1989. The Other Path. Harper & Row.
  • De Soto, Hernando, and Francis Cheneval, 2006. Realizing Property Rights. Ruffer & Rub.
  • Ellickson, Robert, 1993. ""Property in Land" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-04-09. (6.40 MB)", Yale Law Journal 102: 1315–1400.
  • Fruehwald, Edwin, 2010. A Biological Basis of Rights, 19 Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal 195.
  • Mckay, John P., 2004, "A History of World Societies". Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company
  • Palda, Filip (2011) Pareto's Republic and the New Science of Peace 2011 [2] chapters online. Published by Cooper-Wolfling. ISBN 978-0-9877880-0-9
  • Pipes, Richard, 1999. Property and Freedom. New York: Knopf Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-375-40498-6

External links

Anarcho-capitalism

Anarcho-capitalism is a political philosophy and school of anarchist thought that advocates the elimination of centralized state dictum in favor of self-ownership, private property and free markets. Anarcho-capitalists hold that in the absence of statute (law by arbitrary autocratic decrees, or bureaucratic legislation swayed by transitory political special interest groups), society tends to contractually self-regulate and civilize through the spontaneous and organic discipline of the free market (in what its proponents describe as a "voluntary society").In an anarcho-capitalist society, law enforcement, courts and all other security services would be operated by privately funded competitors selected by consumers rather than centrally through confiscatory taxation. Money, along with all other goods and services, would be privately and competitively provided in an open market. Personal and economic activities under anarcho-capitalism would therefore be regulated by victim-based dispute resolution organizations under tort and contract law, rather than by statute through centrally determined punishment under political monopolies, which tend to become corrupt in proportion to their monopolization. Business regulations, such as corporate standards, public relations, product labels, rules for consumer protection, ethics, and labor relations would be regulated voluntarily via the use of competitive trade associations, professional societies, and standards bodies; this would, in theory, establish market-recourse for businesses' decisions and allow the market to communicate effectively with businesses by the use of consumer unions, instead of centralized regulatory mandates for companies imposed by the state, which anarcho-capitalists and other libertarians argue is inefficient due to regulatory capture.Various theorists have espoused legal philosophies similar to anarcho-capitalism. However, the first person to use the term was Murray Rothbard who, in the mid-20th century, synthesized elements from the Austrian School of economics, classical liberalism and 19th-century American individualist anarchists Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker (while rejecting their labor theory of value and the norms they derived from it). A Rothbardian anarcho-capitalist society would operate under a mutually agreed-upon libertarian "legal code which would be generally accepted, and which the courts would pledge themselves to follow". This pact would recognize self-ownership, property, contracts, and tort law, in keeping with the universal non-aggression principle (NAP).

Anarcho-capitalists are distinguished from minarchists, who advocate a small Jeffersonian night-watchman state limited to protecting individuals and their properties from foreign and domestic aggression; and from other anarchists who seek to prohibit or regulate the accumulation of private property and the flow of capital.

Contributing property

In the law regulating historic districts in the United States, a contributing property or contributing resource is any building, object, or structure which adds to the historical integrity or architectural qualities that make the historic district, listed locally or federally, significant. Government agencies, at the state, national, and local level in the United States, have differing definitions of what constitutes a contributing property but there are common characteristics. Local laws often regulate the changes that can be made to contributing structures within designated historic districts. The first local ordinances dealing with the alteration of buildings within historic districts was in Charleston, South Carolina in 1931.Properties within a historic district fall into one of two types of property: contributing and non-contributing. A contributing property, such as a 19th-century mansion, helps make a historic district historic, while a non-contributing property, such as a modern medical clinic, does not. The contributing properties are key to a historic district's historic associations, historic architectural qualities, or archaeological qualities. A property can change from contributing to non-contributing and vice versa if significant alterations take place.

Copyright

Copyright is a legal right, existing in many countries, that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to determine whether, and under what conditions, this original work may be used by others. This is usually only for a limited time. Copyright is one of two types of intellectual property rights, the other is industrial property rights. The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. A major limitation on copyright on ideas is that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves. Copyright is applicable to certain forms of creative work. Some, but not all jurisdictions require "fixing" copyrighted works in a tangible form. It is often shared among multiple authors, each of whom holds a set of rights to use or license the work, and who are commonly referred to as rights holders. These rights frequently include reproduction, control over derivative works, distribution, public performance, and moral rights such as attribution. Copyrights can be granted by public law and are in that case considered "territorial rights". This means that copyrights granted by the law of a certain state, do not extend beyond the territory of that specific jurisdiction. Copyrights of this type vary by country; many countries, and sometimes a large group of countries, have made agreements with other countries on procedures applicable when works "cross" national borders or national rights are inconsistent.Typically, the public law duration of a copyright expires 50 to 100 years after the creator dies, depending on the jurisdiction. Some countries require certain copyright formalities to establishing copyright, others recognize copyright in any completed work, without formal registration. Generally, copyright is enforced as a civil matter, though some jurisdictions do apply criminal sanctions.

Most jurisdictions recognize copyright limitations, allowing "fair" exceptions to the creator's exclusivity of copyright and giving users certain rights. The development of digital media and computer network technologies have prompted reinterpretation of these exceptions, introduced new difficulties in enforcing copyright, and inspired additional challenges to the philosophical basis of copyright law. Simultaneously, businesses with great economic dependence upon copyright, such as those in the music business, have advocated the extension and expansion of copyright and sought additional legal and technological enforcement.Copyright licenses can also be granted by those deputized by the original claimant, and private companies may request this as a condition of doing business with them. Services of internet platform providers like YouTube, Facebook, GitHub, Hotmail, DropBox, Instagram, WhatsApp or Twitter only can be used when users grant the platform provider beforehand the right to co-use all uploaded content, including all material exchanged per email, chat or cloud-storage. These copyrights only apply for the firm that operates such a platform, no matter in what jurisdiction the platform-services are being offered. Private companies in general do not recognize exceptions or give users more rights than the right to use the platform according certain rules.

Embezzlement

Embezzlement is the act of withholding assets for the purpose of conversion (theft) of such assets, by one or more persons to whom the assets were entrusted, either to be held or to be used for specific purposes. Embezzlement is a type of financial fraud. For example, a lawyer might embezzle funds from the trust accounts of their clients; a financial advisor might embezzle the funds of investors; and a husband or a wife might embezzle funds from a bank account jointly held with the spouse.

Embezzlement usually is a premeditated crime, performed methodically, with precautions that conceal the criminal conversion of the property, which occurs without the knowledge or consent of the affected person. Often it involves the trusted individual embezzling only a small proportion of the total of the funds or resources they receive or control, in an attempt to minimize the risk of the detection of the misallocation of the funds or resources. When successful, embezzlements may continue for many years without detection. The victims often realize that the funds, savings, assets, or other resources, are missing and that they have been duped by the embezzler, only when a relatively large proportion of the funds are needed at one time; or the funds are called upon for another use; or when a major institutional reorganization (the closing or moving of a plant or business office, or a merger/acquisition of a firm) requires the complete and independent accounting of all real and liquid assets, prior to or concurrent with the reorganization.

In the United States, embezzlement is a statutory offence that, depending on the circumstances, may be a crime under state law, federal law, or both; therefore, the definition of the crime of embezzlement varies according to the given statute. Typically, the criminal elements of embezzlement are the fraudulent conversion of the property of another person by the person who has lawful possession of the property.

Extortion

Extortion (also called shakedown, outwrestling and exaction) is a criminal offense of obtaining money, property, or services from an individual or institution, through coercion. It is sometimes euphemistically referred to as a "protection racket" since the racketeers often phrase their demands as payment for "protection" from (real or hypothetical) threats from unspecified other parties; though often, and almost always, such "protection" is simply abstinence of harm from the same party, and such is implied in the "protection" offer. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime groups. The actual obtainment of money or property is not required to commit the offense. Making a threat of violence which refers to a requirement of a payment of money or property to halt future violence is sufficient to commit the offense. Exaction refers not only to extortion or the demanding and obtaining of something through force, but additionally, in its formal definition, means the infliction of something such as pain and suffering or making somebody endure something unpleasant.The term extortion is often used metaphorically to refer to usury or to price-gouging, though neither is legally considered extortion. It is also often used loosely to refer to everyday situations where one person feels indebted against their will, to another, in order to receive an essential service or avoid legal consequences. Neither extortion nor blackmail requires a threat of a criminal act, such as violence, merely a threat used to elicit actions, money, or property from the object of the extortion. Such threats include the filing of reports (true or not) of criminal behavior to the police, revelation of damaging facts (such as pictures of the object of the extortion in a compromising position), etc.

In law, the word extortion can refer to political corruption, such as selling one's office or influence peddling, but in general vocabulary the word usually first brings to mind blackmail or protection rackets. The logical connection between the corruption sense of the word and the other senses is that to demand bribes in one's official capacity is blackmail or racketeering in essence (that is, "you need access to this resource, the government restricts access to it through my office, and I will charge you unfairly and unlawfully for such access").

Insurance

Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management, primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent or uncertain loss.

An entity which provides insurance is known as an insurer, insurance company, insurance carrier or underwriter. A person or entity who buys insurance is known as an insured or as a policyholder. The insurance transaction involves the insured assuming a guaranteed and known relatively small loss in the form of payment to the insurer in exchange for the insurer's promise to compensate the insured in the event of a covered loss. The loss may or may not be financial, but it must be reducible to financial terms, and usually involves something in which the insured has an insurable interest established by ownership, possession, or pre-existing relationship.

The insured receives a contract, called the insurance policy, which details the conditions and circumstances under which the insurer will compensate the insured. The amount of money charged by the insurer to the Policyholder for the coverage set forth in the insurance policy is called the premium. If the insured experiences a loss which is potentially covered by the insurance policy, the insured submits a claim to the insurer for processing by a claims adjuster. The insurer may hedge its own risk by taking out reinsurance, whereby another insurance company agrees to carry some of the risk, especially if the primary insurer deems the risk too large for it to carry.

Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. Intellectual property encompasses two types of rights; industrial property rights (trademarks, patents, designations of origin, industrial designs and models) and copyright. It was not until the 19th century that the term "intellectual property" began to be used, and not until the late 20th century that it became commonplace in the majority of the world.The main purpose of intellectual property law is to encourage the creation of a large variety of intellectual goods. To achieve this, the law gives people and businesses property rights to the information and intellectual goods they create – usually for a limited period of time. This gives economic incentive for their creation, because it allows people to profit from the information and intellectual goods they create. These economic incentives are expected to stimulate innovation and contribute to the technological progress of countries, which depends on the extent of protection granted to innovators.The intangible nature of intellectual property presents difficulties when compared with traditional property like land or goods. Unlike traditional property, intellectual property is "indivisible" – an unlimited number of people can "consume" an intellectual good without it being depleted. Additionally, investments in intellectual goods suffer from problems of appropriation – a landowner can surround their land with a robust fence and hire armed guards to protect it, but a producer of information or an intellectual good can usually do very little to stop their first buyer from replicating it and selling it at a lower price. Balancing rights so that they are strong enough to encourage the creation of intellectual goods but not so strong that they prevent the goods' wide use is the primary focus of modern intellectual property law.

Law

Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It has been defined both as "the Science of Justice" and "the Art of Justice". Law is a system that regulates and ensures that individuals or a community adhere to the will of the state. State-enforced laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals can create legally binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that may elect to accept alternative arbitration to the normal court process. The formation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, and the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics, history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people.

A general distinction can be made between (a) civil law jurisdictions, in which a legislature or other central body codifies and consolidates their laws, and (b) common law systems, where judge-made precedent is accepted as binding law. Historically, religious laws played a significant role even in settling of secular matters, and is still used in some religious communities. Islamic Sharia law is the world's most widely used religious law, and is used as the primary legal system in some countries, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.The adjudication of the law is generally divided into two main areas. Criminal law deals with conduct that is considered harmful to social order and in which the guilty party may be imprisoned or fined. Civil law (not to be confused with civil law jurisdictions above) deals with the resolution of lawsuits (disputes) between individuals and/or organizations.Law provides a source of scholarly inquiry into legal history, philosophy, economic analysis and sociology. Law also raises important and complex issues concerning equality, fairness, and justice.

License

A license (American English) or licence (British English) is an official permission or permit to do, use, or own something (as well as the document of that permission or permit).A license can be granted by a party to another party as an element of an agreement between those parties. A shorthand definition of a license is "an authorization to use licensed material".

In particular, a license may be issued by authorities, to allow an activity that would otherwise be forbidden. It may require paying a fee or proving a capability. The requirement may also serve to keep the authorities informed on a type of activity, and to give them the opportunity to set conditions and limitations.

A licensor may grant a license under intellectual property laws to authorize a use (such as copying software or using a (patented) invention) to a licensee, sparing the licensee from a claim of infringement brought by the licensor. A license under intellectual property commonly has several components beyond the grant itself, including a term, territory, renewal provisions, and other limitations deemed vital to the licensor.

Term: many licenses are valid for a particular length of time. This protects the licensor should the value of the license increase, or market conditions change. It also preserves enforceability by ensuring that no license extends beyond the term of the agreement.

Territory: a license may stipulate what territory the rights pertain to. For example, a license with a territory limited to "North America" (Mexico/United States/Canada) would not permit a licensee any protection from actions for use in Japan.

A shorthand definition of license is "a promise by the licensor not to sue the licensee". That means without a license any use or exploitation of intellectual property by a third party would amount to copying or infringement. Such copying would be improper and could, by using the legal system, be stopped if the intellectual property owner wanted to do so.Intellectual property licensing plays a major role in business, academia and broadcasting. Business practices such as franchising, technology transfer, publication and character merchandising entirely depend on the licensing of intellectual property. Land licensing (proprietary licensing) and IP licensing form sub-branches of law born out of the interplay of general laws of contract and specific principles and statutory laws relating to these respective assets.

Mortgage loan

A mortgage loan or, simply, mortgage () is used either by purchasers of real property to raise funds to buy real estate, or alternatively by existing property owners to raise funds for any purpose, while putting a lien on the property being mortgaged. The loan is "secured" on the borrower's property through a process known as mortgage origination. This means that a legal mechanism is put into place which allows the lender to take possession and sell the secured property ("foreclosure" or "repossession") to pay off the loan in the event the borrower defaults on the loan or otherwise fails to abide by its terms. The word mortgage is derived from a Law French term used in Britain in the Middle Ages meaning "death pledge" and refers to the pledge ending (dying) when either the obligation is fulfilled or the property is taken through foreclosure. A mortgage can also be described as "a borrower giving consideration in the form of a collateral for a benefit (loan)".

Mortgage borrowers can be individuals mortgaging their home or they can be businesses mortgaging commercial property (for example, their own business premises, residential property let to tenants, or an investment portfolio). The lender will typically be a financial institution, such as a bank, credit union or building society, depending on the country concerned, and the loan arrangements can be made either directly or indirectly through intermediaries. Features of mortgage loans such as the size of the loan, maturity of the loan, interest rate, method of paying off the loan, and other characteristics can vary considerably. The lender's rights over the secured property take priority over the borrower's other creditors, which means that if the borrower becomes bankrupt or insolvent, the other creditors will only be repaid the debts owed to them from a sale of the secured property if the mortgage lender is repaid in full first.

In many jurisdictions, it is normal for home purchases to be funded by a mortgage loan. Few individuals have enough savings or liquid funds to enable them to purchase property outright. In countries where the demand for home ownership is highest, strong domestic markets for mortgages have developed. Mortgages can either be funded through the banking sector (that is, through short-term deposits) or through the capital markets through a process called "securitization", which converts pools of mortgages into fungible bonds that can be sold to investors in small denominations.

National Register of Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property.

The passage of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) in 1966 established the National Register and the process for adding properties to it. Of the more than one million properties on the National Register, 80,000 are listed individually. The remainder are contributing resources within historic districts.

For most of its history the National Register has been administered by the National Park Service (NPS), an agency within the United States Department of the Interior. Its goals are to help property owners and interest groups, such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation, coordinate, identify, and protect historic sites in the United States. While National Register listings are mostly symbolic, their recognition of significance provides some financial incentive to owners of listed properties. Protection of the property is not guaranteed. During the nomination process, the property is evaluated in terms of the four criteria for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. The application of those criteria has been the subject of criticism by academics of history and preservation, as well as the public and politicians.

Occasionally, historic sites outside the country proper, but associated with the United States (such as the American Embassy in Tangiers) are also listed. Properties can be nominated in a variety of forms, including individual properties, historic districts, and multiple property submissions (MPS). The Register categorizes general listings into one of five types of properties: district, site, structure, building, or object. National Register Historic Districts are defined geographical areas consisting of contributing and non-contributing properties. Some properties are added automatically to the National Register when they become administered by the National Park Service. These include National Historic Landmarks (NHL), National Historic Sites (NHS), National Historical Parks, National Military Parks, National Memorials, and some National Monuments. (Federal properties can be proclaimed National Monuments under the Antiquities Act because of either their historical or natural significance. They are managed by multiple agencies. Only monuments that are historic in character and managed by the National Park Service are listed administratively in the National Register.)

Neverland Ranch

Sycamore Valley Ranch (formerly and most famously Neverland Ranch, or simply Neverland) is a developed property in Santa Barbara County, California, located at 5225 Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Olivos, California, on the edge of Los Padres National Forest. It is known for being the home and private amusement park of American entertainer Michael Jackson from 1989 to 2006.Originally named Zaca Laderas Ranch, the estate was renamed to Sycamore Valley Ranch shortly after it was purchased by property developer William Bone in 1977. In 1988, the ranch was sold to Jackson, who renamed it after Neverland, the fantasy island in the story of Peter Pan, a boy who never grows up. Jackson's first encounter with the ranch came when he visited Paul McCartney, who was staying there during their filming of the "Say Say Say" video. According to La Toya Jackson, Michael expressed interest to her in someday owning the property at that time.The ranch became widely known in connection with the 1993 child sexual abuse accusations against Jackson and later during his trial, as the site where the abuse was alleged to have taken place. The 2019 documentary Leaving Neverland about Jackson's alleged child sexual abuse, which received worldwide attention, is named after the ranch.

As of 2018, the ranch is owned by Colony Capital and has been for sale for several years. The ranch is located about 5 miles (8 km) north of unincorporated Los Olivos, and about eight miles (13 km) north of the town of Santa Ynez. The Chamberlin Ranch is to the west, and the rugged La Laguna Ranch, is to the north. The Santa Barbara County Assessor's office says the ranch is approximately 2,800 acres (1100 hectares).

Property law

Property law is the area of law that governs the various forms of ownership and tenancy in real property (land as distinct from personal or movable possessions) and in personal property, within the common law legal system. In the civil law system, there is a division between movable and immovable property. Movable property roughly corresponds to personal property, while immovable property corresponds to real estate or real property, and the associated rights, and obligations thereon.

The concept, idea or philosophy of property underlies all property law. In some jurisdictions, historically all property was owned by the monarch and it devolved through feudal land tenure or other feudal systems of loyalty and fealty.

Though the Napoleonic code was among the first government acts of modern times to introduce the notion of absolute ownership into statute, protection of personal property rights was present in medieval Islamic law and jurisprudence, and in more feudalist forms in the common law courts of medieval and early modern England as well

Property tax

A property tax or millage rate is an ad valorem tax on the value of a property, usually levied on real estate. The tax is levied by the governing authority of the jurisdiction in which the property is located. This can be a national government, a federated state, a county or geographical region or a municipality. Multiple jurisdictions may tax the same property. This tax can be contrasted to a rent tax which is based on rental income or imputed rent, and a land value tax, which is a levy on the value of land, excluding the value of buildings and other improvements.

Under a property-tax system, the government requires or performs an appraisal of the monetary value of each property, and tax is assessed in proportion to that value.

Public domain

The public domain consists of all the creative works to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable.The works of William Shakespeare and Beethoven, and most early silent films, are in the public domain either by virtue of their having been created before copyright existed, or by their copyright term having expired. Some works are not covered by copyright, and are therefore in the public domain—among them the formulae of Newtonian physics, cooking recipes, and all computer software created prior to 1974. Other works are actively dedicated by their authors to the public domain (see waiver); some examples include reference implementations of cryptographic algorithms, the image-processing software ImageJ, created by the National Institutes of Health, and the CIA's World Factbook. The term public domain is not normally applied to situations where the creator of a work retains residual rights, in which case use of the work is referred to as "under license" or "with permission".

As rights vary by country and jurisdiction, a work may be subject to rights in one country and be in the public domain in another. Some rights depend on registrations on a country-by-country basis, and the absence of registration in a particular country, if required, gives rise to public-domain status for a work in that country. The term public domain may also be interchangeably used with other imprecise or undefined terms such as the "public sphere" or "commons", including concepts such as the "commons of the mind", the "intellectual commons", and the "information commons".

Real estate

Real estate is "property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this (also) an item of real property, (more generally) buildings or housing in general. Also: the business of real estate; the profession of buying, selling, or renting land, buildings, or housing."

It is a legal term used in jurisdictions whose legal system is derived from English common law, such as India, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, United States, Canada, Pakistan, Australia, and New Zealand.

Real estate development

Real estate development, or property development, is a business process, encompassing activities that range from the renovation and re-lease of existing buildings to the purchase of raw land and the sale of developed land or parcels to others. Real estate developers are the people and companies who coordinate all of these activities, converting ideas from paper to real property. Real estate development is different from construction, although many developers also manage the construction process.

Developers buy land, finance real estate deals, build or have builders build projects, create, imagine, control, and orchestrate the process of development from the beginning to end. Developers usually take the greatest risk in the creation or renovation of real estate—and receive the greatest rewards. Typically, developers purchase a tract of land, determine the marketing of the property, develop the building program and design, obtain the necessary public approval and financing, build the structures, and rent out, manage, and ultimately sell it.Sometimes property developers will only undertake part of the process. For example, some developers source a property and get the plans and permits approved before selling the property with the plans and permits to a builder at a premium price. Alternatively, a developer that is also a builder may purchase a property with the plans and permits in place so that they do not have the risk of failing to obtain planning approval and can start construction on the development immediately.

Developers work with many different counterparts along each step of this process, including architects, city planners, engineers, surveyors, inspectors, contractors, lawyers, leasing agents, etc. In the Town and Country Planning context in the United Kingdom, 'development' is defined in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 s55.

Theft

In common usage, theft is the taking of another person's property or services without that person's permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. The word is also used as an informal shorthand term for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, shoplifting, library theft, and fraud (obtaining money under false pretenses). In some jurisdictions, theft is considered to be synonymous with larceny; in others, theft has replaced larceny. Someone who carries out an act of or makes a career of theft is known as a thief. The act of theft is also known by other terms such as stealing, thieving, and filching.Theft is the name of a statutory offence in California, Canada, England and Wales, Hong Kong, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and the Australian states of South Australia, and Victoria.

World Heritage Site

A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. The sites are judged important to the collective interests of humanity.

To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an already classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or wilderness area). It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones. The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 states parties which are elected by their General Assembly.The programme catalogues, names, and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common culture and heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund. The program began with the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, which was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972. Since then, 193 state parties have ratified the convention, making it one of the most widely recognized international agreements and the world's most popular cultural program.

As of July 2018, a total of 1,092 World Heritage Sites (845 cultural, 209 natural, and 38 mixed properties) exist across 167 countries. Italy, with 54 sites, has the most of any country, followed by China (53), Spain (47), France (44), Germany (44), India (37), and Mexico (35).

Property
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By nature
Commons
Theory
Applications
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