This article explores the emergence of property as a moral convention. To understand this process I make use of several laboratory experiments on property in its nascence. These experiments illustrate how a rule of property arises from our knowledge of what is morally right, and not vice versa. I also argue that while the ultimate end of property is our interest in using things, the proximate end of property is not losing them, i.e., the end of a rule of property is to secure from morally unfounded harm.
Wilson, B.J. (2015). Further towards a theory of the emergence of property. Public Choice 163: 201. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-014-0217-8