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Volume 29 • Number 3

July 2015



Private Land Ownership and Its Limitations

by Theodore M. Benditt

People have ownership rights with respect to a wide variety of things, both tangible and intangible. Tangible property can be real or personal, the former including such things as land and houses, and the latter embracing such things as automobiles, computers, art works, furniture, jewelry, and even animals. Examples of intangible things that can be owned are bank accounts, pension funds, and corporate stock, and intellectual property such as copyrights and patents. At one time, land was the most important kind of property, but though over time, ownership of intangibles has come to play a more significant role in our society than tangibles, nevertheless most of our ideas about ownership come from the latter, and particularly from ownership of land. Land ownership was seen as involving values regarded as central in the American polity: political independence, protection of the individual from intrusion by government, and the increased productivity that comes from a private market economy.

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ISSN: 2152-0542