Duality of "Object" & "Ownership"

as Property

The basic concept of "property" has two aspects:

  The object or thing, itself; and

  The social web of behaviors and attitudes that recognizes a defined status relationship between the object and persons.

Ownership status acknowledges right to use or exercise control over an object or thing. The individual who holds such rights is termed the owner, proprietor or domini. The ownership relationship is often referred to as an "exclusive right of use," domain or dominion. The right is exclusive and controlling, insofar as it excludes nonowners from decisions regarding private property and the legitimate use or disposal of property without the express or tacit approval of the owner. An object does not become "property" until the members of society at large customarily regulate their behavior in a self-limiting manner as regards objects or things owned by others in recognition of that exclusive right. Such custom may or may not be formally recognized in laws that define boundaries of behavior toward "property" and authorize punishment for their violation. (Consuetudo voluntis ducit, lex nolentes trahit. = Custom leads the willing, law compels or draws the unwilling. Jenk. Cent. 274.)

If the status of an individual in relation to the use of an object or thing is such that he alone has the predominant priority in using or disposing of it, then the object becomes his "private property."