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Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be an object, land/real estate or intellectual property. Ownership involves multiple rights, collectively referred to as title, which may be separated and held by different parties. The concept of ownership has existed for thousands of years and in all cultures. Over the millennia, however, and across cultures what is considered eligible to be property and how that property is regarded culturally is very different.

Ownership Models[]

  • State Ownership - Assets that a state or certain state agency has jurisdiction over in terms of use.
    • Government Ownership - Assets belonging to a government.
    • Public property - Assets owned by a government or state that are available for public use to all their constituents. Sometimes referred to as social ownership when maintained through public taxation.
  • Personal Ownership - Assets and property belonging to an individual.
  • Common ownership - Assets and property that are held in common by all members of society (or non-ownership).
    • Communal Ownership - Property held in common by a commune.
  • Collective ownership - Assets and property that belong to a collective body of people who control their use.
    • Private Ownership - A subset of collective property whereby a collective group of owners control the use of property, usually for the purpose of generating a profit.
    • Cooperative Ownership - Property that is owned by those who operate and use it. Also referred to as social ownership by Marxists.

Social Views of Ownership[]

Modern Western Views[]

In modern Western popular culture some people (principally among the far political left) believe that exclusive ownership of property underlies much social injustice, and facilitates tyranny and oppression on an individual and societal scale. Others (principally among the political right) consider the striving to achieve greater ownership of wealth as the driving factor behind human technological advancement and increasing standards of living.

Ownership and identity[]

See also[]