The Evolution of Property and
What is the definition of property? How
has the concept of property changed from one culture to another? What
is property management? How is the concept of property management changing
today? Take a look.
1) What is the definition of property?
One definition of property is one that
we might readily expect:
“ownership; right of possession,
enjoyment, or disposal of anything, esp. of something tangible: to have
property in land”1
This definition, as many dictionary definitions
do, fails to even touch the below the surface of the defined concepts.
In other words, it doesn’t help us to understand the footholds upon
which the definition depends.
For example, Neil Meyer, a professor
at the University of Idaho, might not entirely agree with the compendiary
definition offered above. Meyers says that “what is often referred
to as property is really the access right to a stream of benefits from
a given set of resources.”2
Anther “property thinker” who actually included the Meyer’s quote
in an article that I found online also says that “Property rights
are a function of what others are willing to acknowledge. The limits
on an owner’s actions result from expectations and rights of others
as formally sanctioned and sustained by law. The boundary between obligation
and right is variable. Patterns in rights and obligations reflect prevailing
judgments on what is fair, and people’s values determine fairness.
Laws and rules generally reflect the values held by a sufficient number
of the people in a social group.“3
Interesting……interesting that the
concept of ownership is only actually ownership when agreed upon in
the minds of a particular society in general. It is also interesting
that our ability to own property becomes weaker as others do not recognize
our right to call it such.
“No man is an island……?”4
2) How has the concept of property
changed from one culture to another?
In the Old Testament it is interesting
to note the various rules and regulations given by the LORD to the people
of Israel. Property, or ownership, had a different way of “working
itself out.” In fact, the property that the people of Israel
lived on could “moderately belong” to a family but only until a
law of jubile, laws of Aaronic ownership, country land rules, city land
rules and various other “loop holes” stipulated otherwise.5
It can also be affirmed that to the children of Israel, the LORD was
the only true owner and thus He could deal with property management
issues as He saw fit. However, it is also important to recognize
that the children of Israel had to agree in their minds (and perhaps
in their hearts) that this could be a true definition of property and
3) What is Property Management?
Property management can refer to the
management of a great deal of property. Property can be visible
to the naked eye or it can be intellectual. It can be technology
or it can be an idea. Property management is the responsibility
given to one or more persons to uphold certain standards of property
that have supposedly been agreed to by a society or community.
Property management may entail the duties now embraced by attorneys
(both land and intellectual), policemen, landlords, physical property
4) How is the concept of property
management changing today?
The concept of property is changing today
in small, yet dramatic ways. Take for example the theory that
ideas, including writings, compositions and art, are property.
Most people would say that intellectual works are indeed property
to be owned by one person or a group of individuals but—putting aside
references to imminent moral deterioration—it is obvious that
many people (in fact, it would seem that most people in the world today)
do not actively respect the idea of intellectual property.
Now, there may be many reasons that people do not respect the idea of
intellectual property but nevertheless it is apparent—for whatever
reason--that the concept of intellectual property is slowly changing
and emerging into a world where children will soon grow up to view the
concept of in a new and interesting light. After all, couldn’t
we argue that it was actually the work that a person did to access an
idea that actually already existed that should be remunerated once and
that released to free access to the world? That, my friends is what
Google wants to do….at least as far as I can tell after reading another
interesting article that I found online.6
Take for example the Google vs. Publishers
case that I dated as far back as 20057 (not sure when the
actual origins of the case were engendered). This case is interesting
because Google, unlike Amazon or Yahoo is hoping (or hoped) that the
court will (or would) justify an “opt out” approach. Where
as Amazon or Yahoo will ask an author for the rights to his or her intellectual
work and most likely remunerate him or her for that work, Google wants
an approach that will require an author to contact Google in essence
and “opt-out” or in other words tell a Google representative that
he or she does not approve of his or her work being shown online without
remuneration. A paragraph from the article stirred my interest:
“Copyright law, as traditionally applied
to the publishing industry, requires affirmative permission from copyright
holders before another party can use copyrighted content -- the opt-in
approach. But in the Internet world, search engines generally have an
implied, non-exclusive license to copy and store web pages, unless the
pages' owners choose to withhold permission. That is, these rights holders
must explicitly decide to opt out. Google is relying on an "opt-out"
content usage model -- the accepted standard for indexing web material.
In this way, computer software advances are now testing the limits of
traditional copyright law.”7
What do you think will be the future
of property (esp. intellectual property) and what of the future of property
management? Is it really property that we need to manage or our minds?
Works Cited & References
References to these laws and “cultural phenomenons” I think are
mostly in the book of Leviticus although referring to the first four
books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers)
might reveal more insightful references and resources.
by Marci Crane
About Marci Crane | property management |
Buildium | Innuity |