This article explores the reasons why standard economic analyses of property often turn to evolutionary story-telling at crucial points in their arguments. Economic analysis generally begins with the premise that people are self-interested rational utility maximizers. In game theory, however, purely self-interested maximizing behavior would result in a failure to solve many instances where cooperative action is necessary to reach the best joint or common outcome for all the participants. Games of this type are often called “prisoner’s dilemmas” (or sometimes “tragedies of the commons”). A property regime itself represents a kind of “prisoner’s dilemma”, where people must moderate their individual demands in order to create a functioning property system in which everyone’s property is secure, and in which people can safely invest time and effort in their individual property. But this means that property regimes depend on a kind of person who moderates his own preferences for the sake of the common good-that is, a person who is not the self-interested rational utility maximizer presupposed by standard economic analysis. The article argues that this is the reason why economic accounts of property so often turn to story-telling-- that is, stories about the evolution of property cover over a crucial theoretical or logical gap in the standard economic accounts. The article draws on feminist theory and narrative theory to show how story-telling can serve this kind of persuasive function.