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When and why did we start staking out property?

When did it all start and why? Who was the first owner of land and what was the criteria for a person to do so?


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  • Oct 27 2012: Greetings,

    Some would cite the origins of property in the sedentary lifestyle that accompanied of the agrarian revolution. The thinking, as I understand it, ids that settled populations would have the ability and incentive to claim and accumulate posessions. Early agrarians, archeology illuminates, actually had shorter lifespans, along with higher disease and infant mortality rates. This aside, farming was more viable than hunting and gathering as it allowed for storage of food surpluses, and also the specialization, and thus mastery, of trades.

    Of course, when you have a food surplus and a drought comes along, there may well be disputes with those surrounding transitory populations who do not have the buffer provided by storage. Thus property, and warfare, quite likely share the same root causes.

    Myself, I would be moe inclinerd to blame the bag for the creation of the property concept. Or perhaps the gourd. Prior to the development of this technology it was only possible for a gatherer to own two things at any one time, one in the right hand, and one in the left. The portable container would allow an individual to accumulate wealth and carry it for themselves. We commonly say that posession is 9/10ths of the law. I believe that it is more than that, the aclimitization of posessions quite likely invented the concept of posession itself.

    Interestingly , observation of ape populations reveals some rudimentary property behaviors, especially among juveniles. Individual apes have been witnessed as posessinfg a stick, or other object, and keeping it with them, demonstrating consternation when it is approached or used by another. Usually the property seems to be used as a toy, rather than as a tool. This points to the possibility that property, and all of it's baggage, has origins deeper in the past than any agricultural or tool based revolutions of homo sapiens. An intruiging, and disillusioning thought.


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