A researcher’s goal is to eliminate all confounding variables in their study, and test the effects of a specific thing. Yet, one cannot do that in the real world.
The Krugman case is thus complex, full of ethical questions essential to the practice of productive and reputable research. Critics have hotly debated Krugman’s claims that he acted ethically, and logical arguments can be made for both sides. Nevertheless, what is clear is that Krugman’s research and its criticisms clearly show the duality of medicine: the conflict between maximizing benefit to an individual patient versus maximizing the benefit to society.