About private property

The concept of private property is one of the basements of human civilizations. We generally accept the idea that individual humans or groups of humans can “own” certain “resources”. Humans must have the right to pursue their own profit and to satisfy their desire to own things.

Indeed, we cannot expect humans to make efforts if they don’t get some reward for their work. In order to motivate humans to invest their work into something, you must give them a right to govern and use this something. For example you give property right to a given geographical area in order to foster agricultural or architectural activity on that area.

Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights confirms this when it says that “everyone has the right to own property”.

private property

Something owned by a human or a corporation.


The fact that you have been assigned the responsibility for a resource and the right to manage its usage.

Owning something does not only mean the right of using it but also the responsibility of using it in a way that does not hurt others.

The owner of a resource is responsible for managing it. He invests care and energy to develop the resource, maintain it and share it efficiently. Which implies that they have the right of deciding whether and how to make it available to others.

Types of resources


Something useful. Something that can be used by humans and which needs work, care and energy to be discovered, developed, maintained and/or shared efficiently.

owned by a human or a corporation.

Mobile or immobile goods are the most obvious forms of resources.

Money is the most flexible resource.

Territories and areas of the Earth are a particular form of resource.

The name and reputation of a human are a form of resource because they represent a value. Honour. Trustworthiness.

Trademarks and names of companies and organisations are similar in nature to the name and reputation of a physical person. They are the result of business activity. As such they are a particular form of resource.

And then we invented the concept of intellectual property, the most sophisticated form of a resource.

Shared ownership

Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adds “alone as well as in association with others”. And article 23 (4) gets more concrete when it says “Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.” A “trade union” is what I call a private corporation.

Yes, humans can collaborate. This is another great thing with us. We can create corporations (“unions”), which enable us to achieve things that need more than one human life to get done.

The right to own is inferior to the right to survive

Thomas Aquinas introduced the following classification of resources (via fellowdyinginmate):

  1. Resources needed to survive (both individuals and their families).

  2. Resources required to fulfill social responsibilities, these being:

    • Education and support of the family.

    • Maintaining employment.

    • Helping your children in general.

    • Paying debts.

  3. Surplus resources (superflua), remaining after situations (1) and (2) are met.