too big to fail

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English[edit]

Adjective[edit]

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too big to fail

  1. (finance, economics, politics) Deemed too important to the economy or polity to be allowed to “fail”, that is to be liquidated or to go bankrupt.
    • 1912, Fabian Society, Fabian Tract No. 164, "Gold and State Banking: A Study in the Economics of Monopoly"
      The fact, which surely everybody knows and hardly anybody ventures to state, is that the stability of our great banks--and all our banking system which now matters a tittle consists of great banks--is based not on the supply of gold in their vaults, nor on the reserve in the Bank of England, but on the fact that they are too big to fail, too big commercially and far too big politically. If Lloyds, or the London County, or the National Provincial stopped payment, the consequences would far exceed a San Francisco earthquake, a Chicago fire, or any other catastrophe within the memory of man.
    • 2004, Terry Pratchett, Going Postal
      The Trunk's too big to fail. Too many investors. He'll get more money, keep the system going this side of disaster, then let it collapse.
    • 2008, Ben S. Bernanke, Testimony on regulatory restructuring before the Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives on July 10, 2008
      In these efforts, we aim not only to make the financial system better able to withstand future shocks but also to mitigate moral hazard and the problem of "too big to fail," by reducing the range of circumstances in which systemic stability concerns might prompt government intervention.