Wilde makes the seemingly paradoxical statement that "private property has crushed true Individualism," by which he means that man has allowed possessions to define him instead of what is in him as well as what he expresses through himself. As proof, Wilde points out that "English law has always treated offences against a man’s property with far more severity than offences against his person, and property is still the test of complete citizenship." (p. 25) Unfortunately, property has become more valuable to many than mankind itself.
As a result of the emphasis place on property ownership, there has been a proliferation in the number of crimes being committed. Wilde describes the result of the elimination of private property:
When the punishment for crime is reduced, the number of crimes will be reduced. The main reason for the existence of crime is poverty, and its elimination will rid the world of crime as well. Wilde further clarifies his statement, "but though a crime may not be against property, it may spring from the misery and rage and depression produced by our wrong system of property-holding, and so, when that system is abolished, will disappear." (p. 32) The ownership of private property crushes Individualism, which leads to poverty, which ultimately leads to the proliferation of crime.