Ownership of property represents an important aspect of modern life. As affluence has grown, individuals’ possessions have increased both in number and uniqueness. Individual personal property can include physical objects (e.g., money, cell phone), land, or intellectual property (e.g., patents, copyright). Historically, ownership of other people (i.e., slavery, wives) has existed in some societies as a natural right but is now generally viewed as immoral in most countries. This entry explores the psychological effect that ownership can have on an individual and the relation between a person’s possessions and the person’s identity, specifically examining the changes that are made in ownership over the life span as well as overarching changes in ownership that have accompanied the increased prevalence of digital technology.

The laws of individual countries ...

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