Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Public Health

pp 954-954

Minimum Principle


Efficiency postulate; Economic principle


The minimum principle states that a given result must be obtained with the minimum possible expenditure of resources. For this reason it is also known as the economic principle. In accordance with the minimum principle, the goal to be achieved (which, in dentistry, is the desired treatment outcome or medical outcome) is specified and the resources used for its achievement are to be kept to a minimum. Under the maximum principle, on the other hand, a fixed volume of resources is provided and the aim is to obtain the best possible – i. e. the maximum – outcome from them. Both principles are forms of the economic efficiency postulate, which embodies an ideal in the sphere of welfare economics. Departures from this ideal state are indicative of uneconomic functioning and wastage of resources.

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