There are indications that we are entering an era wherein economics will play an increasing role in the optical design and production process. Economics has always been a factor in the competition between commercial ventures in the product arena. Now, we may begin to see competition between different technologies for the scarce resources of the society, including money. A proper design approach begins with a thorough examination and refinement of the requirements from the top down. The interrelationships of the various components must be properly understood and balanced. The specifications must be clear, complete, and realistic. Improper or incomplete system design can cause an extensive waste of resources. The detail optical design to meet the performance requirements has sometimes been the only part of the process that the designer has considered his own responsibility. The final optimization should also consider economic related factors: the cost of tolerances, the available tools test plates, materials, and test equipment. In the preliminary design stage, he should have decided which alignment and test methods are most appropriate to the system. The distribution of tolerances in an optical/mechanical system is a frequently neglected opportunity to reduce cost. We have reported previously on our work in this area, and expand further on it in the context of this paper. The designer now has an opportunity to generate better designs at a lower cost that are more economical to produce. The watchword for the 1980's may become the one found in the assembly automation industry: "more, better, for less".