We are all Keynesians now

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"We are all Keynesians now" is a famous phrase attributed to Milton Friedman and later rephrased by U.S. president Richard Nixon. It is popularly associated with the reluctant embrace in a time of financial crisis of Keynesian economics, for example, fiscal stimulus, by individuals such as Nixon who had formerly favored less interventionist policies. The phrase "we are all ... now" has become a formula applied to various other concepts since.[1][2]

History and variations[edit]

Carl Turner in his 1969 book[3] cites a Russian article by I.G. Blyumin from 1947, referring to what was already the 'famous remark'.

The phrase was later attributed to Milton Friedman in the December 31, 1965, edition of Time magazine.[4] (Although generally attributed to Friedman, economics columnist Henry Hazlitt had prominently used that expression a decade earlier in a Newsweek column.[5]) 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".[6]

Friedman's expression was purportedly a rejoinder to the 1888 claim of British politician William Vernon Harcourt that "We are all socialists now";[7] a declaration that was reprinted for a Newsweek magazine cover story in 2009.[8]

In 1971, after taking the United States off the Bretton Woods system,[9] Nixon was quoted as saying he was "now a Keynesian in economics,"[10] 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.[11]

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.[12][13]


  1. ^ "This House Believes that We Are All Feminists Now". The Oxford Student. 2013-03-04. Retrieved 2023-01-23.
  2. ^ Walters, Suzanna Danuta (2018-10-04). "We Are All Feminists Now". Ms. Magazine. Retrieved 2023-01-23.
  3. ^ Carl B. Turner (1969) An analysis of Soviet views on John Maynard Keynes, Duke Univ Press, p52
  4. ^ "We Are All Keynesians Now". Time. December 31, 1965. Archived from the original on October 23, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
  5. ^ Gerstle, Gary, The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order: America and the World in the Free Market Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 2022), p. 46. Hazlitt, Henry. "The Policy is Inflation". Newsweek, July 5, 1954. Reprinted in Doolittle, Marc, ed., Business Tides: The Newsweek Era of Henry Hazlitt, p. 353. Retrieved April 2, 2023.
  6. ^ "Letter: Friedman & Keynes". Time. February 4, 1966. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  7. ^ Jeffrey Kluger (October 22, 2012). "Viewpoint: The Problem with the "We Are All…" Trope". time.com. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  8. ^ John Meachan (February 6, 2009). "We Are All Socialists Now". newsweek.com. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  9. ^ Pearlstein, Steven (November 26, 2008). "Keynes on Steroids". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
  10. ^ "Nixon Reportedly Says He Is Now a Keynesian". The New York Times, Reuters. January 7, 1971. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  11. ^ Tempest, Matthew (10 June 2002). "Mandelson: we are all Thatcherites now". The Guardian. London.
  12. ^ "We are all Keynesians now". The Boston Globe. November 25, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
  13. ^ Fox, Justin (October 23, 2008). "The Comeback Keynes". Time. Archived from the original on October 26, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-16.