Common property

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Common property is that which is said to have no one owner. Some natural resources, such as air, can be a form of common property. Works in the Public Domain may have had an owner at one point, but any claims have since expired. Open source software can also be referred to as being held in common.


The concept of so-called common ownership is a major focal point of error among socialists, communists, and progressives. Christian socialists, for example, point to some of the teachings of Jesus[1] such as "all the believers were together and held all things in common" as proof that all things were held by government.

Government ownership, however, is not a form of common ownership. Land and industries owned by government are collectively owned.

Another issue is that of Nationalization. Once government takes over industry or natural resources, socialists will claim that this is then common property but it is not.

The classification of a park as "held in common" is another source of dispute. National parks are owned and managed by the Bureau of Land Management, state and local parks are collectively owned by their respective districts.


  1. Acts 2:44-45