We are all Keynesians now

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"We are all Keynesians now" is a famous phrase coined by Milton Friedman and attributed to U.S. president Richard Nixon. It is popularly associated with the reluctant embrace in a time of financial crisis of Keynesian economics by individuals such as Nixon who had formerly favored less interventionist policies.

History of the phrase and variations[edit]

The phrase was first attributed to Milton Friedman in the December 31, 1965, edition of Time magazine.[1] In the February 4, 1966, edition, Friedman wrote a letter clarifying that his original statement had been "In one sense, we are all Keynesians now; in another, nobody is any longer a Keynesian."[2]

Friedman's expression was purportedly a rejoinder to the 1888 claim of British politician William Vernon Harcourt that "We are all socialists now";[3] a declaration that was reprinted for a Newsweek magazine cover story in 2009.[4]

In 1971, after taking the United States off the gold standard,[5] Nixon was quoted as saying "I am now a Keynesian in economics",[6] which became popularly associated with Friedman's phrase.

In 2002, Peter Mandelson wrote an article in The Times declaring "we are all Thatcherites now", referring to the acceptance among the other political parties of Margaret Thatcher's economic policies.[7]

The phrase gained new life in the midst of the global financial crisis of 2008, when economists called for massive investment in infrastructure and job creation as a means of economic stimulation.[8][9]

In a speech after the 2012 Iowa caucuses, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-TX) declared, "I'm waiting for the day we can say, 'We're all Austrians now'";[10] referring to a school of economics which advocates fiscal conservatism and laissez-faire economics, in stark contrast to Keynesianism.


  1. ^ "We Are All Keynesians Now". Time. December 31, 1965. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  2. ^ "Letter: Friedman & Keynes". Time. February 4, 1966. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  3. ^ Jeffrey Kluger (October 22, 2012). "Viewpoint: The Problem with the "We Are All…" Trope". time.com. Retrieved 11 February 2015. 
  4. ^ John Meachan (February 6, 2009). "We Are All Socialists Now". newsweek.com. Retrieved 11 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Pearlstein, Steven (November 26, 2008). "Keynes on Steroids". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  6. ^ The New York Times, January 4, 1971
  7. ^ Tempest, Matthew (10 June 2002). "Mandelson: we are all Thatcherites now". The Guardian (London). 
  8. ^ "We are all Keynesians now". The Boston Globe. November 25, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  9. ^ Fox, Justin (October 23, 2008). "The Comeback Keynes". Time. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  10. ^ "Ron Paul: We're All Austrians Now". youtube.com. Retrieved 11 February 2015.