Ownership & Personhood
'Property' describes the most comprehensive form of possession of a 'thing' or (im)material good, due to its operating at the legislative level. Features of modern forms of the property are the legal assignment of (im)material goods to a legal entity, the recognition of the arbitrary rights of the owner, and the demarkation of the limits of owner discretion. One also therefore talks about property as a 'bundle of rights' which symbolizes the economic-, and power-relations, as well as the behavior between persons. Property thus operates in the legal, economic, and social spheres simultaneously.
At this point it is evident that property always defines itself through the allocation of an (im)material good to a 'real' individual, or agent. In light of this project, the concept of a natural person is discussed, before being deconstructed. Thus, what constitutes the 'reality' of the individual to whom property is allocated to is also deconstructed.
In the classical sense, a natural person, or agent, is a person insofar as they are a legal subject, hence the bearer of rights and duties. The right to property stems from these rights and duties. Following their birth, a person is granted some legal capacity, even if this capacity is limited by - to use a common example - their age. This capacity is lost at the moment of death. The conception of the natural- and juridical-person is debated actively.
Blockchain technology and smart contracts enable non-human actors to administer capital and therefore to claim the right to property for the first time. Property is discussed now as something which is not separable from a natural or legal entity. terra0 begins in this legal grey area, originating in the technological change brought about with the invention of blockchain technology and smart contracts. Since an individual's property is protected in accordance with their rights, one would assume that objects which have gained the right to property are entitled to similar personal rights as natural persons.
The Whanganui, for example, is a landmark which is legally handled quite like a person, or agent. It is the third-biggest river in New Zealand, to which a court granted rights usually reserved for persons, after an indigenous community won a lawsuit demanding personhood status for the river.
In 2008 Ecuador added the 'Rights of Nature' article to its constitution, granting the ecosystem the sort of legal rights usually reserved for natural persons. The legal article outlines the protected status of nature's rights to exist and maintain itself:
„Art. 72. Nature has the right to restoration. This integral restoration is independent of the obligation on natural and juridical persons or the State to indemnify the people and the collectives that depend on the natural systems.
In the cases of severe or permanent environmental impact, including the ones caused by the exploitation on non renewable natural resources, the State will establish the most efficient mechanisms for the restoration, and will adopt the adequate measures to eliminate or mitigate the harmful environmental consequences.“ 3
3. Constitution Of The Republic Of Ecuador - Title II: Rights, Article 72 ↩