In fact, ownership is not always absolute in large-scale societies today. Formal market places are rare in isolated, small-scale societies because the advantages of trading in them are slight. Every household usually provides for its daily needs from its own production. Surpluses cannot be easily sent to areas of scarcity because of the difficulties of transport. Serviceable roads and vehicles to carry surplus goods to market are scarce or non-existent.
The same kind of cultural misunderstanding occurred in western Canada as well. During the 19th century, there was a common derogatory term in the U. S. that owes its origin to the European American misinterpretation of this sort of failed agreement. Anyone who wanted property back despite the fact that there was a binding agreement to sell or trade it was referred to as an “Indian giver. ” In societies with non-market economies, land and other property rights are usually restricted by the overriding rights vested in the community as a whole. This is very different from the concept of proprietary deed that is common in large-scale market economies. With usufruct, an owner normally can “own” land and other substantial property only as long as it is being used or actively possessed.
When European Americans encountered indigenous foraging peoples with non-market economies in North America during the 18th and 19th centuries, there were conflicts that arose as a result of the failure of both societies to understand the other’s concept of ownership. Most often, the indigenous societies had usufruct concepts, while the U. S. legal systems was solidly based on proprietary deed. When government representatives or individuals bought land from Indians, they assumed that they were acquiring all of the proprietary rights to the property.
At the same time, the Indians often thought that they were only selling or leasing the use of the property. When the Indians did not leave the land or returned to it later to live, they were perceived as reneging on a legal contract. From their perspective, the European Americans were taking something that did not and could not belong to them.
The individual “owner” is responsible for looking after the property for the society–he or she essentially only has stewardship over it. If the “owner” no longer needs the property or dies, it is reallocated by the society to others. In contrast, with proprietary deed, an owner of property has the right to keep it whether or not it is being used or actively possessed. For instance, an individual may own a number of houses and never use them. In addition, the owner has the right to pass the property on to descendants or to others chosen by the owner.
They had turned to the printing press to finance a good part of the costs of war, resulting in a “repressed inflation” under the stranglehold of the price regulations. The increasingly scarce goods were rationed or simply disappeared from the stores. By the time Germany surrendered in May 1945, the National Socialist version of the planned economy, and above all the war, had brought Germany to a state of social and economic collapse.