Full text: Ownership as interpersonal dominance

15 societies of the perceived goodness of several concepts, including “future”, “authority”, 
“freedom”, “power”, “competition”, “money”, “success”, “wealth”, and “cooperation”. A factor 
analysis of these indices by the present author is presented in Table 1. It shows that the 
property concepts of “money” and “wealth” form a common factor with “authority” and “power” 
rather than with “future”, “freedom”, “cooperation” and “success” or with “competition”. This 
is consistent with the hypothesis that property entails interpersonal dominance. In Factor 3, 
apparently representing competitiveness, “money” and “wealth” load negatively, suggesting 
that they may not play a role in that aspect of dominance. However, this analysis rests weakly 
on data from adolescents performing a task that encourages desirability responding. 
The purpose of the present study was to use another social science data base, the 
Multinational Student Survey (Iversen, 1969) to examine the psychological motivations that may 
underlie the institution of private property. Using societies as cases, predictors of attitudes 
towards the Institution of private property were sought among measures of interpersonal 
values, with the expectation that several plausible motivational explanations of property might 
compete against one another. 
The Multinational Student Survey (MSS) was a cooperative project to develop a data base 
on social and political attitudes for use in research on international tensions (Iversen, 1969). 
At least 45 researchers in 17 nations contributed to the project. The research questionnaire 
consisted of 188 multiple-choice items and 17 open-ended interview questions. The : 
questionnaire was pre-tested in Denmark, South Korea and the United States, and the standard 
English version was distributed early in 1968. Local translations were used in nine societies; 
however, neither translation procedures nor measures of translation quality were reported. The 
target population was male university students, age 22 to 24, though women were included in 
some samples. 
For the present study, only three types of questions on the MSS were of interest: 1) two 
questions on attitudes towards the institution of private property; 2) a 90-item scale of 
interpersonal values; and 3) demographic questions on nationality, year of birth, and sex. The 
two property questions were among 47 items using a 7-point scale, from strongly agree (value 
1) to strongly disagree (value 7). The first property question (PQ1) asked about agreement with 
the statement: 
The institution of private property is a sound basis on which to build a society which fulfills the 
needs of its members.

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