So everyone knows that I link to Paul Krugman’s economics columns in the New York Times pretty often. In the last half hour or so, I’ve lost all the respect I had for him. Krugman failed to disclose a massive conflict of interest in that he accepted a position on some sort of advisory board with Enron (and was paid $50,000 for it), but never mentioned it. For me, though, that’s not his greatest sin. His greatest sin is praising Enron back in 1999 for the same things that he condemns them for now and not explaining his change of heart.
I can see why an economist would be enthralled with Enron before its collapse. They were doing innovative things, economically speaking, and just as geeks fall for the siren song of Extreme Programming or the GPL, economists probably fall for the latest bizarre business models. What I don’t understand is why Krugman isn’t honest enough to explain the evolution in his thinking. It’s not uncommon for columnists to glom onto whatever the hot trend is and pretend like that’s where they were all along, but behaving that way doesn’t earn you any points with me.
By the way, Andrew Sullivan broke this story, but he gets no link because I loathe his writing.