Mark D. White
I usually try to ignore Paul Krugman, but sometimes I can't. (Sorry.) Thanks to Steve Horwitz (here and here), I lit upon Krugman's September 28 New York Times blog post, "Economics Is Not a Morality Play," in which he writes:
The market economy is a system for organizing activity — a pretty good system most of the time, though not always — with no special moral significance.
But as I've argued elsewhere, the (pure) market economy preserves individual choice and values and thereby embodies respect for the autonomy and dignity of persons. And this has tremendous moral significance, at least if you care about such things as autonomy and dignity.
What Professor Krugman does not seem to understand is that when he approves of something "working" ("Cuba doesn’t work; Sweden works pretty well"), he is making a moral judgment based on promoting the goal of "working" (whatever he means by that). Whether he adheres to some version of utilitarianism (promoting some measure of well-being) or a squishy undefined pragmatism ("whatever works"), his system is just as ethically loaded, and depends on just as many controversial moral presuppositions, as deontology or virtue ethics, which presumably is what he is referring to as "a morality play."
Economics cannot escape ethics, and people like Paul Krugman ignore that fact as their own peril--and, proportionate to their influence, ours as well.