"Economy" is referred to as the thrifty and efficient use of material resources, as the principle of "minimum effort to reach a goal." More illuminating is: "the aim to portion one's forces in order to use as little as possible of them to reach a goal." Such statements certainly apply when the goal is to synthesize a complex target molecule. Redox economy then implies the use of as few redox steps as possible in the synthetic conquest of a target compound. While any sort of economy will help to streamline the effort of total synthesis, redox economy addresses a particularly weak area in present-day total synthesis. It is not enough to point out the present deficiencies, rather the purpose of this Review is to serve as a teaching tool for all practitioners of the field by giving and illustrating guidelines to increase redox economy in multistep organic synthesis.
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