In Ukrainian, there is proverb "Кому війна, кому мати рідна". I would translate it into English as following: "What is war for one, that is mother for another". This means that while some people are suffering from war, some other people are making money from it.
Is there English proverb with a meaning like that?

  • Saddam Hussein talked about "the mother of all wars", but that's different. :-)
    – fixer1234
    Apr 24, 2017 at 19:50

3 Answers 3


There is a saying "War is good for business". Googling that will bring up lots of references, including, for Star Trek fans, #34 of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition: http://www.sjtrek.com/trek/rules/.

The expression is intended somewhat to have "shock value", since people normally think of war as bad. So the dual nature of war is implied rather than the negative side needing to be explicitly included in the saying.

Writer Allen Ginsberg sarcastically adapted this expression for his famous anti-Vietnam War slogan, reimagined on this 1968 poster by Seymour Chwast:

enter image description here

  • Pictures about "War is good for business" are very meaningful.
    – liehater
    Apr 24, 2017 at 20:43

This one comes close:

One man's meat is another man's poison.

What is good for or enjoyed by one is not necessarily so for someone else.

(source: Dictionary.com)

  • Sounds interesting but rather about different flavors.
    – liehater
    Apr 24, 2017 at 15:21
  • @liehater - It isn't literally about flavors. It just means that what is good for one person is not necessarily good for another.
    – stangdon
    Apr 24, 2017 at 22:39
  • I did not mean literally flavors. I did mean that proverb should not accept war as flavor at all. Probably instead of "flavors" there should be "preferences".
    – liehater
    Apr 24, 2017 at 23:48

Unfortunately, this one sounds too homespun:

One man's death is another man's bread.

So let's make one up:

Death is always a good investment.

  • Looks very close.
    – liehater
    Apr 24, 2017 at 15:22
  • One man's death is another man's bread. that's literally what we say in Dutch: de één zijn dood is de ander zijn brood.
    – Glorfindel
    Apr 24, 2017 at 19:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .