chapter  VIII
29 Pages


I c a n very usefully open my survey of property interests in the light of individual psychology by giving some considera­ tion to the third and fourth problems which I have distin­ guished in the introduction to this section of my argument. It will be recalled that throughout the preceding chapters I have had occasion to discuss the evidence for the existence of an instinct of acquisition as the basis of property interests. It will be recalled also that my tentative conclusion has been, pending an examination of collecting activities in Man, that the evidence was not such as would justify the postulation of any such instinct as an adequate explanation for such behaviour. The opportunity, therefore, may now be taken to verify tentative conclusions by examining the nature of acquisitiveness and hoarding, both normal and abnormal, in children and adults, and to show how it is possible adequately to explain the facts already known in terms of psychological elements other than those involving appeal to the somewhat nebulous and over-simplified con­ cepts of an acquisitive instinct. I will therefore begin this chapter by a brief survey of the all too few statistical investigations into the nature of collecting activities among children.