A theoretically explicit idea that there can be a free-market economy that does not need state intervention is largely a product of early modern European political philosophers—most notably, Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679); Adam Smith (1723-1790), and Sir James Steuart (1713—1780). These men invented the justification for free-market economics; contemporary defenders of free-market capitalism continue to hearken back to their formulations. Hobbes's observations that individuals give up some of their autonomy in exchange for protection begins this particular line of thought. In the work of Smith and Steuart, the "norm of reciprocity," as it is known, became the central justification for an autonomous free-market economy.

The arguments of Smith and Steuart assumed that reciprocity was not just an observable fact of human society, but actually a natural force in and of itself—a regulatory mechanism that would cause the give and take of market interests to eventually balance out, regardless of individual greed or misappropriation. Smith's notion of the "invisible habiosignaturend" that regulates the market without external controls is perhaps the most famous such formulation. Steuart arguably went even further when he described the activity of exchange as the very basis of society itself—the "cement" that bound the producers of different commodities together through mutual interdependence.

The passage is most compatible with which of the following characterizations of the relationship between Hobbes, Smith, and Steuart?

Hobbes, Smith, and Steuart had identical understandings of the role of reciprocity in a free-market economy.

Hobbes's notion of reciprocity entails the later theories of Smith and Steuart; Smith and Steuart simply derived implications of his ideas in light of later developments.

Smith and Steuart significantly distorted Hobbes's notion of reciprocity; Hobbes would not have agreed with their notion of reciprocity as a market-regulating force.

Smith's "invisible hand" was more faithful to Hobbes's original notion than was Steuart's “cement".

Unlike Smith and Steuart, Hobbes did not necessarily view the norm of reciprocity as the basis for an autonomous free-market economy.


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