Less is More or Is More Preferred to Less?

Less is More or Is More Preferred to Less?

Less is More or Is More Preferred to Less? 2121 1414 AEPC Health

The familiar expression, less is more, first appeared in the 1855 poem by Robert Browning, Andrea del Sarto, in the year 1855:

           Yet do much less, so much less…Well, less is more, Lucrezia; I am judged.

In 1947, architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe frequently used less is more to describe his minimalist, modernist architectural designs. The expression subsequently gained popularity outside of architecture. It has been used to describe a simpler lifestyle, fewer material things, working with fewer human and non-human resources, and more!  But is less really more?

Or does economic consumer choice theory with its axiom more is preferred to less better describe individuals’ preferences? People usually want more of things that are good — clothing, food, friends, time off work, etc. Economic theory does say that additional units of a good thing provide less additional satisfaction than the prior units – but we still want more! Think about ice cream and the satisfaction from the 1st scoop, 2nd scoop, 3rd scoop and so on. Children can be great examples of this principle with their nearly insatiable desire for more toys, playtime, and the like.

So, which is it? Less is more? Or more is preferred to less?  It depends. From a societal perspective, more is preferred to less is true when it comes to such things as the amount of clean drinking water, number of covid-19 vaccinated people, access to quality public education. And what about less is more? Certainly, less is more applies to unnecessary medical care, medical errors, suicides and the like.

This Weekend Reading series begins with More or Less, providing articles on the impact of overuse and underuse of health care services on cost and quality. Next check out Heads Up with some of the latest healthcare news. In Just Kids explore a variety of child health care issues including opioid prescribing, vaccine exemptions, and more!  Finally, do not miss The Ceiling Cat & Other Curiosities and yes, the cat story is my personal favorite!

I hope you enjoy the following:

1. More or Less

  • The American Journal of Managed Care® (AJMC®): Aetna Requires Precertification for All Cataract Surgeries, Angering Ophthalmologists
  • TCTMD: One in Six HF Patients Delay or Forego Care, Inflating Costs
  • Science Daily: Preoperative screening urinalysis is widely used—but usually unnecessary, study finds. Tests offer little or no benefit to patients, but have several potential downsides
  • Whistleblower Network News: Ascension Michigan To Pay $2.8 Million, Resolving Whistleblower Allegations Of Unnecessary Procedures
  • The Atlantic: ‘He Thought What He Was Doing Was Good for People’ Why is it so difficult to prevent unnecessary medical procedures in the U.S. health-care system?

2. Head’s Up

3. Just Kids

  • U of M Health: Study – Half of pediatric opioid prescriptions are “high risk”
  • University of Michigan News: Success of Michigan’s rule to reduce vaccine exemptions for kids was short-lived, U-M study says
  • New York Times: ‘This Is Really Scary’: Kids Struggle With Long Covid
  • NPR: EPA Will Ban A Farming Pesticide Linked To Health Problems In Children

4.  The Ceiling Cat & Other Curiosities

Enjoy your weekend!



Suzanne Daniels, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 1416
Birmingham, MI 48012
Office: (248) 792-2187
Email: [email protected]


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