Property is a very important institution in the economy of societies. The world ‘property’ is used in two senses. According to some writers it includes goods or things owned by an individual or group of individuals.

Thus, Anderson and Parker write, “Property consists of goods and services that society gives an individual or group of individuals the exclusive right to possess, use and dispose of.” In this sense property is one’s own, something dispose of.” In this sense property is one’s own, something possessed by him. It may be tangible or intangible.

Tangible items are those which can be seen and touched. Clothing, ornaments, weapons, tools, utensils, houses, lands, automobile, animals etc., are tangible items. The intangible property is that which cannot be seen and touched. Such property consists of goodwill, copy rights, trade mark etc. Most of our property consists of tangible items.

In its second sense, property refers to rights. Davis writes, “Property consists of the rights and duties of one person of group as against all other persons and groups with respect to some scarce goods.” It sets off what is mine from what is thine.


Rights and duties are not tangible in a physical sense. In this sense, tangibility or intangibility of the thing owned is of little importance, because what are owned are not the goods but the rights to use these goods.

H.T. Mazumdar also writes, “Property is the intangible right to use and disposal of a good, material or non-material, in which ownership rights are affirmed for the group, or a member or a set of members of the group by the folkways and mores

“It may be noted that the idea of property takes its birth only when something is scarce and valuable. If a thing is easily and freely available it cannot be the object of property. For example, air and light are freely available to every person.

Hence they cannot form property, i.e., none can have an exclusive right to their use. In a society there is scarcity of goods. The members have less than they want. Therefore, they want to possess the exclusive right to things in scarcity and here the concept of property acquires significance.