The foundation of economic security in America is ownership.
What Does Ownership Mean?
In reviewing the benefits of asset ownership, Cornell Law professor and Ownership America Advisory Board member Robert Hockett highlights that:
“Owning spawns thoughtful, hopeful, forward-looking, active, participative, healthy, educated, confident, secure-feeling, achieving, creative, civically and familially engaged, productive and responsible citizens.”
“one dramatic…effect of accumulated wealth-holding on individual psychology is its inducing an orientation toward the future, and a consequent attitude of control thereover…asset-holding carries with it an investing, future-affecting and caretaking mentality, which in turn fosters an attitude of autonomy—the sense that one is not merely a passive object of fate and future, but a part-controller of the same.”
– “Whose Ownership? Which Society?” (2006)
The social benefits to ownership are numerous. Asset ownership is a proven defense against marriage and family dissolution, a boon to cognitive function, increases physical and emotional health and wellbeing, results in better educational performance by the children of a family with ownership—the list goes on.
Broad-based property ownership in America is not only an economic imperative, but a human necessity that encompasses virtually every dimension of social policy. In the civic arena, ownership equates to heightened political participation and community engagement, both increasingly endangered sources of social capital in an era of economic dislocation and institutional distrust.
From a philosophical standpoint, ownership can credibly be thought of as the “economic franchise”—perhaps nearly as essential to citizenship as the right to vote. Along with political enfranchisement, ownership is the foundation of the range of practical freedoms that are regularly exercised by individuals and families in society.