Difference between good and thing

A good and a thing are two terms frequently used when talking about legal systems. Both refer to the different possessions and material objects that serve for man to satisfy his needs.

However, to speak of good and thing is to speak of two different concepts, concepts that are presented below in order to point out the difference between them.


Assets can be defined as all the components of a person’s assets, that is, their possessions. That is why, two classes of property are distinguished: movable property and real estate. Movable assets are those that the person owns and serve to satisfy her needs, movable assets can be moved and are not excluded from trade. On the other hand, real estate refers to patrimonial possessions that are fixed to the ground and cannot be moved, such as constructions, buildings, homes, among others.

In short, goods are immaterial and material objects capable of having a value. Legally, they are all those deserving of protection by the law or legal system such as life, health, family, heritage, among others and are susceptible to private appropriation.

Likewise, depending on their nature, goods can be free goods, which are those that exist for their own sake and are in common use, such as the air we breathe, capital goods that are used for the production of other goods, consumer goods that are the products of human consumption and the economic goods that are obtained as a result of work.

According to their origin, the goods can be public goods that belong to and are managed by the state for the benefit of the people and private goods that are those that belong to the private sector (banks, shops, companies, among others).


Legally speaking, thing is defined as any object of the legal relationship, which can be a good, a right or an obligation. In this relationship intervene the people who are the object of it. Things can be classified according to various factors or elements.

In that order of ideas, we find that things can be classified as follows:

Things can be corporeal (they are perceived by the senses and have existence in nature) or incorporeal (they are perceived with the understanding and cannot be touched).

  • According to its usefulness:

They can be consumable (they are extinguished with their first use) or non-consumable (they are not extinguished with their first use).

  • According to its divisibility:

They can be divisible things (even when separated into parts they do not lose value) or indivisible things (things that lose value when divided into parts).

  • According to your commercial capacity:

It can be tradable (things that can be bought and sold) or non-tradable (things that can neither be sold nor bought).

  • According to its existence:

They can be future things (things that do not exist at the moment but according to a normal process can be obtained in the future, such as a harvest) and present things (those that exist at the moment of being declared).

In short, it could be that, in its most general sense, everything that exists in nature is a thing with the exception of the human being.

Taking into account what was described above, the basic difference between good and thing is as follows:

  • Things are material objects that can be appropriated or inappropriate but that exist or will exist according to the normal course of events, while goods are possessions that are part of the person’s heritage, that is, they are appropriable.

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