Trying to find the word or the term for if something is good for someone or something, then by virtue of that supposed logic (I don’t see this as logical but as a fallacy - I just don’t know which one) it must be bad for someone else”

A very simple example to illustrate my point:

  • Immigrants moved into a town and this was good for them but bad for the towns people.

Now I don’t inherently believe if something good happens to someone there must be an equal and opposite reaction happening to someone else.

Is there a term or a concept for this? What I do know or think is that it could be a fallacy but again I just don’t know which one.

  • I suppose someone's view of 'Balance in the Universe' encompasses this.. 'Townspeople', by the way. Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 15:34
  • 11
    Zero-sum game
    – Mitch
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 15:55
  • 1
    What's good for the goose is not always good for the gander.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


This is called zero sum thinking, as described in this Wikipedia article.

If it involves fallacious reasoning, it is called a zero sum fallacy.

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