Acquiring Resources Through Possession
• Rule of First Possession – The first person to reduce previously un-owned things to her possession becomes its owner. In reality, there are few things that have never been previously possessed or owned.
⁃ Example: An individual may obtain ownership of real property through “original entry” or “title by occupancy”. This is where the government grants ownership rights in land to individuals willing to settle or claim a stake in the land. This rule was important during the founding and colonizing of the United States.
⁃ Discussion: How do you feel about the principle that the first possessor of property owns it? What are the benefits of this principle? What are the negative aspects of the principle?
⁃ Practice Question: Ernest is walking down the street when he sees a flash of light and a large object fall from the sky. Ernest immediately recognizes that a meteor has hit the earth. He runs over to where the meteor landed and finds that the meteor contains a large chunk of precious metal. He picks up the precious metal and takes it home. Does Ernest own the metal?