Full text: Ownership as interpersonal dominance

The present study does have its limitations, particularly in its restrictions to university 
males from a non-random selection of national societies which are not culturally independent 
of one another. However, this study's findings do have bearing on some of the major theories 
of property that have arisen over the long history of the topic. For example, it did not find a 
positive relationship between Benevolence and private property, although the function of 
property, according to Aristotle (Barker, 1952) and the Reformation Christian tradition (Tawney, 
1926), was to allow acts of charity. Rather, values of Benevolence tend to be incompatible with 
an appreciation of the institution of private property. Also, this study did not find a relationship 
between wanting Recognition and thinking private property is a desirable institution, though the 
theory that property has an expressive function to communicate social status (e.g. Veblen, 
1899/1912) might lead one to expect this. The theory that private property was to provide a 
private realm for individual agency (Locke, 1690/1952; Bosanquet, 1895) did receive some 
support in the positive relationship of Independence to a favorable attitude to private property 
and in the modulating effects of Independence on the within-society correlations of Leadership 
and Nonconformity values and attitudes towards private property. 
However, the strongest findings of this study were the relationships of favoring dominance 
and nonconformity with favoring private property. These are consistent with the earlier 
cross-cultural research on property by Sumner and Keller (1927), Simmons (1937), and before 
them, Hobhouse (1922). Thus, it appears that within the cultural ecology of human values. 
private property might be functionally related to a striving for dominance and to an avoidance 
of conformity. Private property appears to be a part of the social control mechanisms by which 
interpersonal behavior is regulated.

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