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Ownership is the state or fact of
exclusive right In Anglo-Saxon law Anglo-Saxon law (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon ...
s and control over
property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the right to consume, alter, share, r ...
, which may be any
asset In financial accounting Financial accounting is the field of accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial and non financial information about economic entity, economic entities such a ...
, including an object, land or
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 genera ...

real estate
,
intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of ...
, or until the
nineteenth century The 19th (nineteenth) century began on January 1, 1801 ( MDCCCI), and ended on December 31, 1900 ( MCM). The 19th century was the ninth century of the 2nd millennium. The 19th century saw much social change; slavery Slavery and enslavemen ...
,
human beings Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of primate, characterized by bipedality, bipedalism and large, complex brains. This has enabled the development of advanced tools, culture, and language. Humans are highly ...
. Ownership involves multiple rights, collectively referred to as title, which may be separated and held by different parties. The process and mechanics of ownership are fairly complex: one can gain, transfer, and lose ownership of property in a number of ways. To acquire property one can
purchase Purchasing is the process a business or organization uses to acquire Good (economics), goods or Service (economics), services to accomplish its goals. Although there are several organizations that attempt to set standards in the purchasing proces ...

purchase
it with
money Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes, in a particular country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a ...

money
, trade it for other property, win it in a bet, receive it as a
gift A gift or a present is an item given to someone without the expectation of payment or anything in return. An item is not a gift if that item is already owned by the one to whom it is given. Although gift-giving might involve an expectation o ...

gift
,
inherit Inherit may refer to: * Inheritance, passing on of property after someone's death * Heredity, passing of genetic traits to offspring * Inheritance (object-oriented programming), way to compartmentalize and re-use computer code * Inherit (album), '' ...

inherit
it, find it, receive it as
damages At common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary ...
, earn it by doing work or performing services,
make Make or MAKE may refer to: *Make (magazine), ''Make:'' (magazine), an American magazine and television program *Make (software), a computer-assisted software engineering tool *Make, Botswana, a small village in the Kalahari Desert *Make Architects, ...
it, or homestead it. One can transfer or lose ownership of property by
selling Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. The delivery of a service for a cost is also considered a sale. The seller, or the provider of the Goods and services, goods or services, co ...

selling
it for
money Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes, in a particular country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a ...

money
,
exchanging
exchanging
it for other property, giving it as a gift, misplacing it, or having it stripped from one's ownership through legal means such as
eviction 250px, Two men with children, being evicted, stand with their possessions on the sidewalk, circa 1910, on the New_York_City.html"_;"title="Lower_East_Side_of_New_York_City">Lower_East_Side_of_New_York_City. Eviction_is_the_removal_of_a_ Lower_ ...
,
foreclosure Foreclosure is a legal process in which a lender A creditor or lender is a party (e.g., person, organization, company, or government) that has a claim on the services of a second party. It is a person or institution to whom money is owed. ...
,
seizure An epileptic seizure, formally known as a seizure, is a period of symptom Signs and symptoms are the observed or detectable signs, and experienced symptoms of an illness, injury, or condition. A sign for example may be a higher or lower temp ...
, or
taking Eminent domain (United States, Philippines), land acquisition (India, Malaysia, Singapore), compulsory purchase/acquisition (Australia, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom), resumption (Hong Kong, Uganda), resumption/compulsory acquis ...
. Ownership is self-propagating in that the owner of any property will also own the
economic An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ...

economic
benefits of that property.


History

Over the
millennia A millennium (plural millennia or millenniums) is a period of one thousand year A year is the orbital period of a planetary body, for example, the Earth, moving in Earth's orbit, its orbit around the Sun. Due to the Earth's axial tilt, the ...

millennia
and across cultures, notions regarding what constitutes "property" and how it is treated culturally have varied widely. Ownership is the basis for many other concepts that form the foundations of ancient and modern societies such as
money Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes, in a particular country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a ...

money
,
trade Trade involves the transfer of goods from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. Economists refer to a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of r ...

trade
,
debt Debt is an obligation that requires one party, the debtor A debtor or debitor is a legal entity (legal person) that owes a debt Debt is an obligation that requires one party, the debtor, to pay money or other agreed-upon value to ...

debt
,
bankruptcy Bankruptcy is a legal process through which people or other entities who cannot repay debts to creditor A creditor or lender is a party 300px, '' Hip, Hip, Hurrah!'' (1888) by Peder Severin Krøyer, a painting portraying an artists' par ...

bankruptcy
, the
criminality In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a State (polity), state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsay: "Crime, defin ...
of
theft Theft is the taking of another person's property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of pr ...

theft
, and private vs. public property. Ownership is the key building block in the development of the
capitalist Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for Profit (economics), profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, a price s ...

capitalist
socio-economic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern society, societies social progress, progress, economic stagnation ...
system.
Adam Smith Adam Smith ( 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher as well as a moral philosopher Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and ...

Adam Smith
stated that one of the sacred laws of justice was to guard a person's property and possessions.


Types of owners


In person

Individual An individual is that which exists as a distinct entity Entity may refer to: Computing * Character entity reference, replacement text for a character in HTML or XML * Entity class, a thing of interest within an entity–relationship model or d ...
s may own property directly. In some societies only adult men may own property; in other societies (such as the
Haudenosaunee The Iroquois ( or ) or Haudenosaunee (; "People of the Longhouse") are an Indigenous peoples of the Americas, indigenous Confederation#Indigenous confederations in North America, confederacy in northeast North America. They were known during t ...
), property is
matrilinear Matrilineality is the tracing of kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often d ...
and passed on from mother to the offspring. In most societies both men and women can own property with no restrictions and limitations at all.


Structured ownership entities

Throughout history,
nation A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense ...

nation
s (or
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
s) and
religious organization Religious activities generally need some infrastructure to be conducted. For this reason, there generally exist religion-supporting organizations, which are some form of organization that manage: * the upkeep of places of worship, such as m ...
s have owned property. These entities exist primarily for purposes other than to own or operate property; hence, they may have no clear rules regarding the
disposition A disposition is a quality of character, a habit A habit (or wont as a humorous and formal term) is a routine of behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or ...

disposition
of their property. To own and operate property, structures (often known today as
legal entities In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its b ...
) have been created in many societies throughout history. The differences in how they deal with members' rights is a key factor in determining their type. Each type has advantages and disadvantages derived from their means of recognizing or disregarding (rewarding or not) contributions of financial capital or personal effort.
Cooperative A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomous The federal subject The federal subjects of Russia, also referred to as the subjects of the Russian Federation (russian: субъекты Российск ...
s,
corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the State (polity), state to act as a single entity (a legal entity recognized by private and public law "born out of statute"; a legal person in legal ...

corporation
s, trusts,
partnership A partnership is an arrangement where parties, known as business partner A business partner is a commercial entity with which another commercial entity has some form of Business alliance, alliance. This relationship may be a contractual, exclus ...

partnership
s, and condominium associations are only some of the many varied types of structured ownership; each type has many subtypes. Legal advantages or restrictions on various types of structured ownership have existed in many societies past and present. To govern how assets are to be used, shared, or treated, rules and regulations may be legally imposed or internally adopted or decreed.


Liability for the group or for others in the group

Ownership by definition does not necessarily imply a responsibility to others for actions regarding the property. A "legal shield" is said to exist if the entity's legal liabilities do not get redistributed among the entity's owners or members. An application of this, to limit ownership risks, is to form a new entity (such as a
shell company A shell corporation is a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity In law, a legal person is any person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morali ...
) to purchase, own and operate each property. Since the entity is separate and distinct from others, if a problem occurs which leads to a massive liability, the individual is protected from losing more than the value of that one property. Many other properties are protected, when owned by other distinct entities. In the loosest sense of group ownership, a lack of legal framework, rules and regulations may mean that group ownership of property places each member in a position of responsibility (liability) for the actions of every other member. A structured group duly constituted as an entity under law may still not protect members from being personally liable for each other's actions. Court decisions against the entity itself may give rise to unlimited personal liability for each and every member. An example of this situation is a professional partnership (e.g.
law practice In its most general sense, the practice of law involves giving legal advice to clients, drafting legal documents for clients, and representing clients in legal negotiations and court proceedings such as lawsuits, and is applied to the profession ...
) in some
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
s. Thus, being a partner or owner in a group may give little advantage in terms of share ownership while producing a lot of risk to the partner, owner or participant.


Sharing gains

At the end of each
fiscal year A fiscal year (or financial year, or sometimes budget year) is used in government accounting, which varies between countries, and for budget purposes. It is also used for financial report Financial statements (or financial reports) are formal ...
,
accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the measurement ' Measurement is the number, numerical quantification (science), quantification of the variable and attribute (research), attributes of an object or event, which can be used to compare with other ob ...
rules determine a surplus or profit, which may be retained inside the entity or distributed among owners according to the initial setup intent when the entity was created. For public corporations, common
shareholder A shareholder (in the United States often referred to as stockholder) of a corporation is an individual or legal entity (such as another corporation, a body politic, a Trust law, trust or partnership) that is registered by the corporation as the ...
s have no right to receive any of the profit. Entities with a ''member focus'' will give financial surplus back to members according to the volume of financial activity that the participating member generated for the entity. Examples of this are producer cooperatives, buyer cooperatives and participating whole life policyholders in both mutual and share-capital
insurance companies Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management Risk management is the identification, evaluation, and prioritization of risk In simple terms, risk is the possibility of something bad happening. ...
. Entities with ''shared voting rights'' that depend on financial capital distribute surplus among shareholders without regard to any other contribution to the entity. Depending on internal rules and regulations, certain classes of shares have the right to receive increases in financial "dividends" while other classes do not. After many years the increase over time is substantial if the business is profitable. Examples of this are common shares and preferred shares in private or publicly listed share capital corporations. Entities with a focus on providing service ''in perpetuam'' do not distribute financial surplus; they must retain it. It will then serve as a cushion against losses or as a means to finance growth activities. Examples of this are not-for-profit entities: they are allowed to make profits, but are not permitted to give any of it back to members except by way of discounts in the future on new transactions. Depending on the
charter A charter is the grant of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social scie ...
at the foundation of the entity, and depending on the legal framework under which the entity was created, the form of ownership is determined once and for all time. To change it requires significant work in terms of communicating with stakeholders (member-owners, governments, etc.) and acquiring their approval. Whatever structural constraints or disadvantages exist at the creation thus remain an integral part of the entity. Common in, for instance,
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
,
Hamburg en, Hamburgian(s) , timezone1 = Central (CET) , utc_offset1 = +1 , timezone1_DST = Central (CEST) , utc_offset1_DST = +2 , postal_code_type = Post ...

Hamburg
, and
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
is a form of real estate ownership known as a
cooperative A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomous The federal subject The federal subjects of Russia, also referred to as the subjects of the Russian Federation (russian: субъекты Российск ...
(also co-operative or co-op, in
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
''Wohnungsgenossenschaft'' – apartment co-operative, also "''Wohnbaugenossenschaft''" or simply "''Baugenossenschaft''") which relies heavily on internal rules of operation instead of the legal framework governing condominium associations. These "co-ops", owning the building for the mutual benefit of its members, can ultimately perform most of the functions of a legally constituted condominium, i.e. restricting use appropriately and containing financial liabilities to within tolerable levels. To change their structure now that they are up and operating would require significant effort to achieve acceptance among members and various levels of government.


Sharing use

The owning entity makes rules governing use of property; each property may comprise areas that are made available to any and every member of the group to use. When the group is the entire nation, the same principle is in effect whether the property is small (e.g.
picnic A picnic is a meal A meal is an eating Eating (also known as consuming) is the ingestion Ingestion is the consumption of a substance by an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ' ...

picnic
rest stops along
highway A highway is any public or private road A road is a wide way leading from one place to another, typically one with a specially prepared surface which vehicles and bikes can use. Roads consist of one or two roadways (British English: ...

highway
s) or large (such as
national parks#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state dec ...

national parks
, highways, ports, and publicly owned buildings). Smaller examples of shared use include common areas such as lobbies, entrance
hallway A hallway or corridor is a room used to connect other rooms. In 1597 John Thorpe John Thorpe or Thorp (c.1565–1655?; fl.1570–1618) was an English architect. Life Little is known of his life, and his work is dubiously inferred, rather th ...

hallway
s and passages to adjacent buildings. One disadvantage of communal ownership, known as the
Tragedy of the Commons In economic science, the tragedy of the commons is a situation in which individual users, who have open access to a resource unhampered by shared social structures or formal rules that govern access and use, act independently according to their s ...
, occurs where unlimited unrestricted and unregulated access to a resource (e.g. pasture land) destroys the resource because of
over-exploitation Overexploitation, also called overharvesting, refers to harvesting a renewable resource File:Global Vegetation.jpg, Global vegetation A renewable resource, also known as a flow resource, is a natural resource which will replenish to replace the ...
. The benefits of exploitation accrue to individuals immediately, while the costs of policing or enforcing appropriate use, and the losses dues to over exploitation, are distributed among many, and are only visible to these gradually. In a
communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

communist
nation, the means of production of goods would be owned communally by all people of that nation; the original thinkers did not specify rules and regulations.


Ownership models

*
State ownership State ownership, also called government ownership and public ownership, is the ownership of an industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a clo ...
: ownership of an
industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a closely related set of raw materials, goods, or services. For example, one might refer to the wood industry ...
,
asset In financial accounting Financial accounting is the field of accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial and non financial information about economic entity, economic entities such a ...
, or
enterprise Enterprise (or the archaic spelling Enterprize) may refer to: Business and economics Brands and enterprises * Enterprise GP Holdings Enterprise GP Holdings was a midstream energy holding company based in Houston, Texas Houston ( ) is ...

enterprise
by the
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
or a
public body A statutory corporation is a statuteA statute reffers to the body of law that are made by legislature of the nation with instrument which govern the state, country or any nation. it includes laws, rules and the reulation whichhas to be followed b ...
representing a community as opposed to an
individual An individual is that which exists as a distinct entity Entity may refer to: Computing * Character entity reference, replacement text for a character in HTML or XML * Entity class, a thing of interest within an entity–relationship model or d ...
or private party. **
Public ownership State ownership, also called government ownership and public ownership, is the ownership of an industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a clos ...
: ownership and operation of an enterprise by a central government; also an ambiguous term that could refer to either social, partial state, or full state ownership. *
Private ownership Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental Legal personality, legal entities. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which is owned by a state entity, and from Collective ownershi ...
: ownership of property by non-governmental
legal entities In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its b ...
. ** Fractional ownership: ownership held in percentage
shares In financial markets A financial market is a market in which people trade financial securities and derivatives at low transaction costs. Some of the securities include stocks and bonds, raw materials and precious metals, which are known ...
of an expensive
asset In financial accounting Financial accounting is the field of accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial and non financial information about economic entity, economic entities such a ...
, sold to individual owners, who are charged fees for the asset's management and variable use. *
Collective ownership Collective ownership is the ownership of means of production by all members of a group for the benefit of all its members. The breadth or narrowness of the group can range from a whole society to a set of coworkers in a particular Business, enterp ...
: either joint ownership of an economic entity (e.g., a
cooperative A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomous The federal subject The federal subjects of Russia, also referred to as the subjects of the Russian Federation (russian: субъекты Российск ...
) or public ownership. **
Cooperative ownership A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned enterprise".Common ownership Common ownership refers to holding the assets of an organization, enterprise Enterprise (or the archaic spelling Enterprize) may refer to: Business and economics Brands and enterprises * Enterprise GP Holdings Enterprise GP Holdings ...
is both a concept in political philosophy, and a specific legal form existing at least in UK law whereby employees own a business in which they work collectively "in common" rather than in individual shares. * Property is also distinguished by whether it is movable (
personal property Personal property is property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the ...
) or immovable (
immovable property In English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land Land is the solid surface of the Earth that is not permanently covered by water. The vast majority of human activity throughout history has occ ...
and
real property In England, English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land which is the property of some person and all structures (also called Land improvement, improvements or Fixture (property law), fixtures) integr ...
). * Concerning ownership of
means of production The means of production is a concept that encompasses the social use and ownership Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive right In Anglo-Saxon law Anglo-Saxon law (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest record ...
and delineating which groups receive the direct profits, capitalism's private ownership is distinguished from socialism's
social ownership Social ownership is the appropriation of the surplus product Surplus product (german: Mehrprodukt, links=no) is an economic concept explicitly theorised by Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philoso ...
. * Ownership of resources can be distinguished as either as individual or communal, analogous to private or public in delineating who has rights of use.


Types of property


Personal property

Personal property is a type of
property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the right to consume, alter, share, r ...
. In the
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
systems personal property may also be called chattels. It is distinguished from
real property In England, English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land which is the property of some person and all structures (also called Land improvement, improvements or Fixture (property law), fixtures) integr ...
, or
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 genera ...

real estate
. In the
civil law Civil law may refer to: * Civil law (common law) Civil law is a major branch of the law.Glanville Williams. ''Learning the Law''. Eleventh Edition. Stevens. 1982. p. 2. In common law legal systems such as England and Wales and the law of the United ...
systems personal property is often called
movable property Personal property is property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, 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 ...
or movables – any property that can be moved from one location or another. This term is used to distinguish property that different from
immovable property In English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land Land is the solid surface of the Earth that is not permanently covered by water. The vast majority of human activity throughout history has occ ...
or immovables, such as land and buildings. This also means the direct owner of the item(s) is in full control of them/it until either stolen,
confiscated Confiscation (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
by
law enforcement 'Law enforcement'' is the activity of some members of government who act in an organized manner to enforce the law by discovering, deterrence (legal), deterring, rehabilitation (penology), rehabilitating, or punishment, punishing people who viol ...
, or destroyed. Personal property may be classified in a variety of ways, such as
good 125px, In many Western religions, angels are considered to be good beings and are contrasted with devils who are considered evil In most contexts, the concept of good denotes the conduct that should be preferred when posed with a choice betwee ...
s,
money Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes, in a particular country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a ...

money
,
negotiable instrument A negotiable instrument is a document guaranteeing the payment of a specific amount of money, either on demand, or at a set time, whose payer is usually named on the document. More specifically, it is a document contemplated by or consisting of a c ...
s,
securities A security is a tradable financial asset A financial asset is a non-physical asset In financial accounting Financial accounting is the field of accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the measurement, processing, and communication o ...
, and
intangible asset An intangible asset is an asset In financial accountancy, financial accounting, an asset is any resource owned or controlled by a business or an economic entity. It is anything (tangible or intangible) that can be used to produce positive econom ...
s including choses in action.


Land ownership

Real estate or
immovable property In English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land Land is the solid surface of the Earth that is not permanently covered by water. The vast majority of human activity throughout history has occ ...
is a
legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
term (in some jurisdictions) that encompasses land along with anything permanently affixed to the land, such as
building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and functions, and have been adapted throughout history for a ...

building
s. Real estate (immovable property) is often considered synonymous with
real property In England, English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land which is the property of some person and all structures (also called Land improvement, improvements or Fixture (property law), fixtures) integr ...
, in contrast from
personal property Personal property is property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the ...
(also sometimes called ''chattel'' or ''personalty''). However, for technical purposes, some people prefer to distinguish real estate, referring to the land and fixtures themselves, from real property, referring to ownership rights over real estate. The terms ''real estate'' and ''real property'' are used primarily in
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
, while
civil law Civil law may refer to: * Civil law (common law) Civil law is a major branch of the law.Glanville Williams. ''Learning the Law''. Eleventh Edition. Stevens. 1982. p. 2. In common law legal systems such as England and Wales and the law of the United ...
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
s refer instead to
immovable property In English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land Land is the solid surface of the Earth that is not permanently covered by water. The vast majority of human activity throughout history has occ ...
. In law, the word ''real'' means relating to a thing (from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
''reālis,'' ultimately from ''rēs'', 'matter' or 'thing'), as distinguished from a person. Thus the law broadly distinguishes between ''real property'' (land and anything affixed to it) and ''personal property'' (everything else, e.g., clothing, furniture, money). The conceptual difference is between immovable property, which would transfer title along with the land, and movable property, which a person would retain title to. With the development of private
property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the right to consume, alter, share, r ...
ownership, real estate has become a major area of
business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit." Having a business name A trad ...

business
.


Corporations and legal entities

An individual or group of individuals can own shares in corporations and other
legal entities In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its b ...
, but do not necessarily own the entities themselves. A legal entity is a
legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...

legal
construct through which the law allows a group of
natural person In jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form ...
s to act as if it were an
individual An individual is that which exists as a distinct entity Entity may refer to: Computing * Character entity reference, replacement text for a character in HTML or XML * Entity class, a thing of interest within an entity–relationship model or d ...
for certain purposes. Some duly incorporated entities may not be owned by individuals nor by other entities; they exist without being owned once they are created. Not being owned, they cannot be bought and sold. Mutual life insurance companies,
credit union A credit union, a type of financial institution similar to a commercial bank, is a member-owned financial cooperative, controlled by its members and operated on a not-for-profit basis. Credit unions generally provide services to members simila ...
s,
foundation Foundation may refer to: * Foundation (nonprofit), a type of charitable organization ** Foundation (United States law), a type of charitable organization in the U.S. ** Private foundation, a charitable organization that, while serving a good cause ...
s and
cooperative A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomous The federal subject The federal subjects of Russia, also referred to as the subjects of the Russian Federation (russian: субъекты Российск ...
s, not for profit organizations, and public corporations are examples of this. No person can purchase the company, as their ownership is not legally available for sale, neither as shares nor as a single whole.


Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) refers to a legal entitlement which sometimes attaches to the expressed form of an
idea In common usage and in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosoph ...

idea
, or to some other
intangible Intangibles or intangible may refer to: * Intangible asset, an asset class used in accounting * Intellectual capital, the difference in value between tangible assets (physical and financial) and market value * Intellectual property, a legal concept ...
subject matter. This legal entitlement generally enables its holder to exercise
exclusive right In Anglo-Saxon law Anglo-Saxon law (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon ...
s of use in relation to the subject matter of the IP. The term intellectual property reflects the idea that this subject matter is the product of the
mind The mind is the set of faculties responsible for mental phenomena A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable fact or event. The term came into its modern philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fun ...

mind
or the intellect, and that IP rights may be protected at law in the same way as any other form of
property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the right to consume, alter, share, r ...
. Intellectual property
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
s confer a bundle of
exclusive right In Anglo-Saxon law Anglo-Saxon law (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon ...
s in relation to the particular form or manner in which ideas or information are expressed or manifested, and not in relation to the ideas or concepts themselves (see idea-expression divide). It is therefore important to note that the term "intellectual property" denotes the specific legal rights which authors, inventors and other IP holders may hold and exercise, and not the intellectual work itself. Intellectual property laws are designed to protect different forms of intangible subject matter, although in some cases there is a degree of overlap. *
Copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

Copyright
may subsist in creative and artistic works (e.g.
book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of v ...

book
s,
movies A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through the use of moving images. These images are gen ...
,
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...

music
,
painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, or solid mastic composition that, after application to a substrate in a thin layer, converts to a solid film. It is most commonly used to protect, ...

painting
s,
photograph A photograph (also known as a photo) is an image An SAR radar image acquired by the SIR-C/X-SAR radar on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour shows the Teide volcano. The city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is visible as the purple and white ...
s and
software Software is a collection of instructions Instruction or instructions may refer to: Computing * Instruction, one operation of a processor within a computer architecture instruction set * Computer program, a collection of instructions Music * I ...

software
), giving a
copyright holder Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. There are many types of intellectual property, and some countries recognize more ...
the exclusive right to control reproduction or adaptation of such works for a certain period of time. *A patent may be granted in relation to an invention that is new, useful and not simply an obvious advancement over what existed when the application was filed. A patent gives the holder an
exclusive right In Anglo-Saxon law Anglo-Saxon law (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon ...
to commercially exploit the invention for a certain period of time (typically 20 years from the filing date of a patent application). *A trademark is a distinctive sign (semiotics), sign which is used to distinguish the products or services of one
business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit." Having a business name A trad ...

business
from those of another business. *An industrial design right protects the form of appearance, style or design of an industrial object (e.g. spare parts, furniture or textiles). *A trade secret (also known as "confidential information") is an item of confidential information concerning the commercial practices or Property, proprietary knowledge of a business. Patents, trademarks and designs fall into a particular subset of intellectual property known as industrial property. Like other forms of property, intellectual property (or rather the exclusive rights which subsist in the IP) can be transferred (consideration, with or gift, without consideration) or licensed to third parties. In some
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
s it is possible to use intellectual property as Collateral (finance), collateral for a loan. The basic Public policy (law), public policy rationale for the protection of intellectual property is that IP laws facilitate and encourage disclosure of innovation into the public domain for the common good, by granting authors and Inventor (patent), inventors exclusive rights to exploit their works and invention for a limited period. However, various schools of thought are critical of the very concept of intellectual property, and some characterise IP as ''intellectual protectionism''. There is ongoing debate as to whether IP laws truly operate to confer the stated public benefits, and whether the protection they are said to provide is appropriate in the context of innovation derived from such things as traditional knowledge and folklore, and patents for software patent, software and business method patent, business methods. Manifestations of this controversy can be seen in the way different
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
s decide whether to grant intellectual property protection in relation to subject matter of this kind, and the stark divide on issues of the role and scope of intellectual property laws.


Chattel slavery

"Slavery" is usually taken to mean chattel slavery. The living human body is, in modern societies, considered something which cannot be the property of anyone but the person whose body it is. Its opposite, in which the person in the body does not own their body, is slavery, chattel slavery. Chattel slavery was defined as the absolute legal ownership of a person, including the legal right to buy and sell them. Persons who were so enslaved did not have the freedom to direct their own actions, and their legal rights were either severely limited or nonexistent. The Antebellum period in the United States is considered both the worst for the exploitation of chattel slaves, and also where the practice aroused such fierce opposition and support that it led to the American Civil War. Chattel slavery is currently (2020) illegal in every country in the world. However, until the 19th century slavery in one form or another existed in most societies and was thought of as the normal state of things; slaves of whatever ethnicity were considered racially inferior. Notwithstanding the illegality of enslavement, slavery in the 21st century, virtual slavery still exists in various forms today, although called by other names.


Critical views

The question of ownership reaches back to the Ancient Greek philosophy, ancient philosophers, Plato and Aristotle, who held different opinions on the subject. Plato (428/427 BC – 348/347 BC) thought private property created divisive inequalities, while Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) thought private property enabled people to receive the full benefit of their labour (human activity), labor. Private property can circumvent what is now referred to as the “tragedy of the commons” problem, where people tend to degrade common property more than they do private property. While Aristotle justified the existence of private ownership, he left two open questions # how to allocate property between what is private and common, and # how to allocate the private property within societyPolitics 1263a8 15 as quoted in Mayhew 1995 p. 566


Modern Western views

In Modern Political Science, modern western politics, some people believe that exclusive ownership of property underlies much social injustice, and facilitates Tyranny of the majority, tyranny and oppression on an individual and societal scale. Others consider the striving to achieve greater ownership of wealth as the driving factor behind human technological advancement and increasing Standard of living, standards of living. Some support the latter view, believing that ownership is necessary for liberty itself.


Ownership society

Ownership society was a political slogan used by President of the United States, United States President George W. Bush to promote a series of policies aimed to increase the control of individual citizens over health care and Social Security (United States), social security payments and policies. Critics have claimed that slogan hid an agenda that sought to implement tax cuts and curtail the government's role in health care and Retirement savings, retirement saving.


See also

*Bubuti system *Cadastre *Dominium *Owned (slang), Owned, a slang term for dominance or control *Ownership society *Possession (law) *
Public ownership State ownership, also called government ownership and public ownership, is the ownership of an industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a clos ...
*
State ownership State ownership, also called government ownership and public ownership, is the ownership of an industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a clo ...


References

{{Authority control Ownership, Legal terminology Property, Ownership