Hayek became the founding father of a model of economic management which has brought us to the current crisis; Polanyi, with extraordinary prescience, warned that the crisis would come; he rejected the idea that the market is a "self-regulating" mechanism which can correct itself. There is no "invisible hand" such as the neoliberals maintain, so there is nothing inevitable or "natural" about the way markets work: they are always shaped by political decisions.
I really wish people would stop this obsession with equating capitalism with markets: they are not the same thing. A market is a natural thing that springs up whenever people trade anything.
They are, in fact, entirely fucking natural: markets were not suddenly invented by someone and they didn't suddenly spring up overnight. Nor were they implemented by some far-sighted socialist government (ha!) for the benefit of all.
Markets have been around, even in the most basic form, since men learned to communicate with each other. In fact, markets have certainly been around far longer than organised politics.
A free market is self-adjusting because it is unconstrained: sure, markets may take a little time to adapt to changes, simply because they are evolutionary systems but it is because of this very trait that they always do adapt.
The thing that often stops markets adjusting is regulation: laws and regulations provide a stop—a barrier beyond which traders are unable to pass. Regulations distort markets and, all too often, break them (in that the market is unable to adapt and so fails).
Hayek and his ilk were evangelists for free markets, and those we have precious few of. The banking market was most certainly not a free market, and this was especially so in the last few years (after the collapse of Enron, etc.).
Markets may well be "always shaped by political decisions" but free markets are not. Those of us who extol the virtues of free markets find ourselves pretty undaunted by the attacks of the Left: there was no free market, and so it has not been shown to fail.
This paragraph by Maddie is massively confused in any case: conflating the "invisible hand" with the failure of the money markets is just barking. Still, I guess that's how Mad Maddie Bunting got her name.
The idea of the "invisible hand" is not a complicated one, Maddie, but it has very little to do with the regulation of markets. Here is the outline of it, in the words of Adam Smith...
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity, but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages.
The invisible hand encompasses the idea that society benefits through the selfish actions of an individual; or, as Wikipedia puts it...
Once in The Wealth of Nations and other writings, Smith demonstrated that, in a free market, an individual pursuing his own self-interest tends to also promote the good of his community as a whole through a principle that he called "the invisible hand". He argued that each individual maximizing revenue for himself maximizes the total revenue of society as a whole, as this is identical with the sum total of individual revenues.
That Mad Maddie Bunting is allowed—in fact, is paid—to write this pig-ignorant tripe in a national newspaper, where it will be lapped up by lefty morons the country over is a fucking travesty frankly.
I would prefer that she were hung from a tree and then "neoliberals" (does she mean libertarians?) beat her like a fucking piñata; it would be even more fitting were she to be blindfolded, since she might then feel that she was being enthusiastically beaten to death by an invisible hand. Or several, actually.