I appreciate the implications of this research. Though I believe humans are naturally, evolutionarily, predisposed to be competitive and self-interested (for better and worse), this research helps demonstrate how we adjust our views with age and experience. We might be naturally selfish (watch children at play), but we also mature and learn to apply ethical systems to control our impulses.
Kids Own Up To Ownership - Science News:As a libertarian, I don't believe humanity can or even should attempt to stifle our desire for control over our own bodies and possessions. Furthermore, I tend to suspect those supporting strong central governments are also being self-interested, but they rationalize this self-interest. When you benefit from government redistribution, it is easy to convince yourself that government is somehow "better" than private industry.
Kids own up to ownership: Concept of property rights may come naturally to preschoolers
By Bruce Bower June 18th, 2011; Vol.179 #13 (p. 17)
WASHINGTON — Young children are possessed by possessions. Preschoolers argue about what belongs to whom with annoying regularity, a habit that might suggest limited appreciation of what it means to own something.
But it’s actually just the opposite, psychologist Ori Friedman of the University of Waterloo in Canada reported on May 28 at the Association for Psychological Science annual meeting. At ages 4 and 5, youngsters value a person’s ownership rights — say, to a crayon — far more strongly than adults do, Friedman and psychology graduate student Karen Neary found."
O. Friedman. Children’s inferences about ownership, and the privileges it confers. Association for Psychological Science meeting, Washington, D.C., May 28, 2011.
Children reveal what we are, at our cores. I don't think we change much after our childhood, either. Studies have shown that personalities are established as early as first grade. Government can regulate our worst, most base instincts, but it cannot change our fundamental natures.