My brain cells seem to be dying but this one is bothering me. What is the phrase that means something that you lose in process? Similar to occupational hazard? Or by product or side effect?


Poor people and animals are ———- of capitalism.

So poor people and animals are the subject and capitalism is the process.

  • Please provide a couple of examples and explain what it is about them that counts as the ‘loss’ as well as what counts as ‘process’.
    – Lawrence
    Feb 17, 2018 at 6:07
  • Poor people and animals are ———- of capitalism. So poor people and animals are the subject and capitalism is the process. I’ve used this phrase so many times but I can’t femember it. Feb 17, 2018 at 8:45
  • The mods sometimes delete comments without notice. I've added your example to the question's text. You can also do this using the edit link. Feel free to edit further or to roll back my changes.
    – Lawrence
    Feb 17, 2018 at 10:24
  • 1
    the collateral damage Feb 17, 2018 at 11:57

4 Answers 4


Consider fallout.

fallout noun 2 The adverse results of a situation or action. ‘The prosecutors must also consider the possible negative economic fallout that likely will result at a time when the economy is already struggling.’ - ODO

Your example would look like this (though it doesn't fit very well in that particular example):

  • Poor people and animals are the fallout of capitalism.

I would say the answer is in the question and that the best word is 'sacrifice' or 'sacrificial victim'.

Poor people and animals are sacrificial victims of capitalism.

They are surrendered, in a sacrificial way :

Sacrifice : a. The destruction or surrender of something valued or desired for the sake of something having, or regarded as having, a higher or a more pressing claim;



Perhaps the best phrase for your situation is collateral damage:


    injury inflicted on something other than an intended target; specifically: civilian casualties of a military operation

Collins English Dictionary:

    accidental injury to nonmilitary people or damage to nonmilitary buildings which occurs during a military operation.


    Collateral damage is a general term for deaths, injuries, or other damage inflicted on an unintended target.

I believe that this would be generally understood in the metaphoric / euphemistic context of your example sentence, but beware: many dictionaries (e.g., Cambridge English Dictionary and Macmillan Dictionary) define the phrase more specifically as referring to deaths in a military context.

A couple other phrases are relevant to your question, although they don’t fit in your example sentence.  One is cost of doing business; of which the Urban Dictionary says:

used to refer to something painful/dangerous/regrettable/otherwise negative associated with doing something you have voluntarily chosen to do and therefore implicitly accept the possible risk of.

so you might say:

We have a capitalistic society.  The lives of poor people and animals are a cost of doing business.

Be aware that this pejorative / ironic idiom is often associated with crime.  If a criminal is doing something that brings in millions, and he is occasionally convicted, but only fined a few thousand, he might refer to that as a cost of doing business.  The implication is that he has no qualms about the illegality (and immorality) of his actions, and feels that the penalties have no more ethical significance than the rent or utility bills would have for a conventional business.

The other is you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs:

Cambridge English Dictionary:

    (saying) it is hard to achieve something important without causing unpleasant effects

The Free Dictionary (Idioms):

    1. Sometimes, you have to do unpleasant things in order to complete a task or meet a goal.
    2. (Proverb) In order to get something good or useful, you must give up something else.  
    • Jill: Why do they have to tear down that beautiful old building to build an office park?  Jane: You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.
    • Alan: We may make more money by raising our prices, but we’ll also upset a lot of customers.  Fred: You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.


    In order to achieve something, it is inevitable and necessary that some mistakes are made or some sacrifices must occur.

Macmillan Dictionary:

    used for saying that it is impossible to achieve something good without causing some problems or some unpleasant effects

Note that the shorter spelling, “omelet”, is often used.

Counterpoint: Let’s Resolve in the New Year to Stop Using That Expression About Breaking Eggs and Making Omelets.


Victim? or maybe casualty? Something that is badly affected by a situation.


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