Market morality

While researching the "living wage" debate, I came across this old Paul Krugman article, written five years ago. He makes an interesting observation towards the end:

    In short, what the living wage is really about is not living standards, or even economics, but morality. Its advocates are basically opposed to the idea that wages are a market price--determined by supply and demand, the same as the price of apples or coal. And it is for that reason, rather than the practical details, that the broader political movement of which the demand for a living wage is the leading edge is ultimately doomed to failure: For the amorality of the market economy is part of its essence, and cannot be legislated away.

Now, Austrians and Objectivists may dispute the notion that the market economy is amoral, but I think Krugman has a point. The market itself is neither moral nor immoral; it simply allows individuals the freedom to make their own decisions. Markets do not act - people do - and human action is the only thing that can be described as having moral qualities.

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Would Krugman be caught dead

Would Krugman be caught dead writing that today? He wouldn't if he could use the living wage to bash Bush.

Unfortunately, you are

Unfortunately, you are right. Krugman's a great writer when it comes to economics, but he has let politics cloud his judgement.