The National Organization for Raw Materials' Hall of Fame
honors individuals, living and deceased, who made notable contributions
to the study and understanding of Raw Material Economics. Some honorees
labored in the bright lights of the public forum; others in the quiet of their
homes or libraries, still others by writing, publishing, and teaching.
All carried in their hearts and minds a love of country, a deep-seated
sense of social and economic fairness, and a belief that the practical
application of Raw Material Economics -- based upon public understanding
of unbiased scientific analysis of the nation's 20th Century economic record
-- would bring widespread and stable economic prosperity to the United
States of America and serve the best interests of all citizens and succeeding
Carl H. Wilken, one of the "Fathers of Raw Material Economics"
who died in 1968, was trained as an engineer during World War I. He transferred
his methodical mode of thought and analysis to agriculture and economics
during the Great Depression. For all practical purposes, he was the "working
cog" in a group that included Charles B. Ray, Dr. John Lee Coulter, and
J. Carson Adkerson. Together they founded the Raw Materials National Council,
the predecessor of the National Organization for Raw Materials.
A farmer near Wall Lake, Iowa, Wilken entered into his
analytical studies of the U.S. economy armed with nothing but two years
of study at the University of Iowa, an inquisitive mind, simple arithmetic,
and an ability to ferret out important government economic data. He had
no pre-conceived ideas or economic theories and simply wanted to scientifically
analyze the economic records of the U.S. government to find out what "really"
caused the Great Depression and to determine if a future depression could
Eventually, he teamed with a cadre of men with equally
open minds -- all dedicated to a single-minded purpose of setting the U.S.
economy back on a path of permanent prosperity.
With Wilken at the helm, they discovered a natural law
of economics, based on arithmetic and physics, that had escaped generations
of supposedly-learned economists. They proved that raw materials income
governed national income unless the latter was expanded by debt. His data
also made it clear that expansion of trade beyond income destabilized the
internal U.S. economy and edged U.S. wages towards an international common
denominator that can not sustain the American standard of living.
In the 1940s, working hand-in-hand in the U.S. Congress
with the then-powerful National Association of State Secretaries, Directors,
and Commissioners of Agriculture (NASDA)
, Wilken and his associates succeeded in getting national
legislation passed that created a "par-economy" that captured sufficient earned
income to virtually pay for World War II as it was being fought, and to
re-employ the American workforce in the years immediately following W.W.II.
In the early 1950s, the forces of Keynesian economic theory
and free world trade wrested control of the nation's economic planning
mechanism from the Wilken group and, since that time, the nation has experienced
a free-fall into unserviceable public and private debt and economic malaise.
At the time of his death, Wilken had spent more time testifying
before Congress than any other American. Wilken authored numerous articles
and booklets on raw material economics, including "Prosperity Unlimited,"
"All New Wealth Comes from the Soil," "A Preliminary Balance Sheet for the
12 Central Midwestern States 1946 - 1963," and "American Heritage."
His story -- as well as the metes and bounds of raw material
economics -- is contained in the book Unforgiven by Charles Walters.
A 1994 update of Wilken's statistics is entitled The Nature of Wealth
by Jerome Freimel and Fred Lundgren.
Dr. John Lee Coulter
John Lee Coulter was a key figure in an early-day agricultural
"think tank" that resulted in the formation of the Raw Materials National
Council, which ultimately became the National Organization for Raw Materials.
He can also be considered one of NORM's
His doctorate degree from the University of Wisconsin
was entitled: "Industrial History of the Valley of the Red River of the
North," and dealt with the Bonanza farms.
Coulter was introduced into the study of raw material
economics by Charles B. Ray and General Wood of Sears & Roebuck. As
President of North Dakota A&M (now North Dakota State University in
Fargo), and as U.S. Tariff Commissioner, he reasoned out many of the fundamentals
upon which raw materials economics research would hinge. He "saw" the implications
of the growth of free world trade and how that trade could become hurtful
unless conducted on mutually beneficial conditions and unless confined
to those items and services the U.S. economy truly needed.
Accordingly, he traced free unregulated international
trade and its effect on domestic and international economic stability.
His findings put him solidly in the camp of all those who reasoned that
raw materials and physics had a primacy role in the development and maintenance
of an economy -- exactly as Benjamin Franklin has proclaimed during the
nation's formation as a capitalistic Republic.
Charles B. Ray
Charles B. Ray was an engineer and business counselor
in Chicago. He was one of the first to recapture the dimensions of the
American system of economics. An obvious student of Fredrick Soddy, Ray
was also associated with Sears & Roebuck, the catalog and counter giant.
Ray reasoned that most of the economic equation had to
do with providing goods and services for the nation's households. Ray started
his research in 1932. By 1936, he could predict national income with practical
accuracy six months in advance. How? He discovered one factor that telegraphed
all that was to follow. That factor was the annual physical farm production
and the other raw materials production necessary to support a developed society
and the first-sale prices of those raw materials. He connected the parity
concept of farm commodity prices and the use of government regulated floor
prices as the missing links to sustained national prosperity and full employment.
Ray was instrumental in discovering a state-of-the-art
multiplier for raw materials. He called it a "trade turn." It is a slowly moving
constant that adjusts itself to changes in technology. This natural multiplier
can only be set aside by inserting debt into the equation, and debt cannot
be sustained because compound interest operates outside the laws of physics
Ray's pioneering computations proved that with farm raw
materials at parity in 1929, factory employment and national income obeyed
the laws of the multiplier and reached an economic state of equilibrium
at full employment. Three years later, a decline in the governing factor
caused an induced decline across the board in the American economy -- the
Ray took his work to U.S. Tariff Commissioner, Dr. John
Lee Coulter, the second great Founding Father of Raw Materials Economics and
they eventually joined forces with Carl H. Wilken,
another of the original researchers
J. Carson Adkerson
J. Carson Adkerson was a mining engineer and President
of the American Manganese Producers Association. It was under Dr. John Lee Coulter's
tutelage that Adkerson first confirmed his manganese data.
Aligned with data from all raw materials sectors, these
manganese data were juxtaposed alongside manufacturing interests to reveal
the favoritism extended industry, particularly the steel industry, as opposed
to foundation raw products of the Earth.
J. Carson Adkerson became a transitional figure between
the "Founding Fathers" of Raw Material Economics and those who eventually
founded the National Organization for Raw Materials. He was instrumental
in forming the Raw Materials National Council, the forerunner of NORM.
Arnold E. "Red" Paulson
A small business owner in Granite Falls, Minnesota, Arnold
E. "Red" Paulson, became one of Carl H. Wilken's most dedicated students.
Paulson can legitimately be considered a latter day "Founding Father" of
Like St. Paul on the road to Damascus, Paulson found new insight into natural
economic law when he met Wilken. After that, he spent the rest of his life
revealing the facts of raw material economics.
His understanding of raw material economics matched his
mentor's, and his ability to explain, convince and motivate exceeded Wilken's.
He traveled the nation speaking to farm, business and financial groups
about the practical application of raw material economics. He lobbied Congress
with the same purpose and dedication.
Paulson was National President of the Junior Chamber of
Commerce when he was introduced to Raw Material Economics and in that capacity
immediately recognized how parity prices for the products of the good Earth
could stimulate earned income and simultaneously sustain and nurture rural
areas, small towns and cities, and large metropolitan areas.
Two of Paulson's most attentive students were Fred Lundgren
and Jerome Friemel, Texas agriculturists who would author the definitive
raw material economic text of the 1990s, "The Nature of Wealth -- Discovering
the Physics Within the Economic System." The reservoir of knowledge that
exists within the American populace today traces largely to Paulson's powerful
seminars and insightful writings. Paulson's newsletters, now collected
as several thousands of pages of raw information, stand as a monument
to him, more enduring than brass.
Paulson served as Executive Director of the National Organization
for Raw Materials from 1971 until his death in 1980.
Charles Walters was an economist and journalist, with undergraduate
and graduate degrees from Creighton University and Denver University respectively.
He was a president of the National Organization for Raw Materials and
founder and editor of Acres USA, the Voice of Eco-Agriculture.
Walters was the consummate reference source on Raw
Material Economics. He was the foremost biographer of the raw materials
equation. Early in his professional career, he comprehended the national
and international implications of applied Raw Material Economics as revealed
in the analyses of the U.S. economy by Carl H. Wilken, Charles B. Ray,
John Lee Coulter, and others involved in the early Raw Materials National
Available from NORM
He also comprehended the powerful array of well-entrenched
professors, politicians, bankers, and free traders who would undermine
all efforts at educating the American public and its congressional and
statehouse leaders about Raw Material Economics. But the enormity of the
task did nothing to deter Walters and he spent more than 40 years focusing
a highly illuminating journalistic spotlight upon the U.S. economy's downward
spiral into unfathomable public and private debt and tracing its origins
to the errant policies of cheap food and free trade.
In addition to writing and publishing hundreds of articles
about Raw Material Economics in Acres USA during 28 years, Walters found
time to author three major works on the subject.
His first book, Unforgiven (1971), now
in it's second edition (2003), is the definitive text on Raw
Material Economics derived from in-depth interviews with Carl H. Wilken,
shortly before Wilken's death in 1968. Unforgiven is available from NORM. (Click on book image above.)
A subsequent book, Raw Material Economics: A NORM
Primer, (1982) is still in print and can be ordered from AcresUSA
It updates the status of raw material economics into the mid-1980s, and is suitable for a high-school textbook.
He also authored a paperback booklet entitled: PARITY
-- The Key to Prosperity Unlimited.
Fred Lundgren, co-author of The Nature of Wealth, paid
Walters a fitting compliment in the book by describing him as "the ultimate
democrat, with a small 'd;' the intellect of an Einstein; the generosity
of a Carnegie, and the demeanor of Andy Rooney."
Vince Rossiter, President, Bank of Hartington, Hartington,
Nebraska, died in 1991. He spent his working lifetime as a banker and an
adherent of Carl H. Wilken's analysis.
Rossiter, and his father Emmett, were an anomaly among
banking circles. They understood raw material economics. Resisting decades
of peer pressure from the banking industry, Vince fastidiously chronicled
two national economic trends and tied them inextricably to below-parity
raw material prices:
(1) the relative annual comparisons of the nation's six primary
sources of income (Net Farm
Income; Small Business Income; Rental Income; Corporate Profits Before Taxes;
Wages, Salaries and Supplements; Net Interest)
as reported in the Annual Economic Report of the President,
(2) the total accumulation of public and private debt.
From his office, he issued workpapers confirming the
relationship between raw materials income at the first point of sale and national
employment -- the national exchange equation. His data, however, made clear
the point at which debt could no longer be used to sustain the national
income. He clearly revealed that national economic imbalance caused jobs
to be lost and the federal debt to be forever growing and unpayable from
During the 1960s, Rossiter served as Chair of the Agriculture
Committee of the Independent Bankers Association. He traveled throughout
the U.S. educating rural and urban groups about Raw Material Economics.
He often teamed with NORM Executive
Director Arnold "Red" Paulson and Erhard Pfingsten, vice president of
the National Farmers Organization. He served as an advisor for the Center
for Rural Affairs in Walthill, NE, during the Center's formative years.
His personal dedication and articulate explanations of his comprehensive
analyses of the U.S. banking system added greatly to the general body of
Raw Material Economics knowledge.
Without formal education in economics, Kermit began his
fight for a "par-economy" in the mid-1960s, eventually working with his
neighbor Merle Willard to form one of NORM's
most effective educational teams. They learned first-hand by working at
the elbow of Arnold Paulson, perhaps NORM's
most dynamic Executive Director. Couch understood not only the underpinnings
of raw material economics, but could extrapolate his knowledge to forecast
future economic performance. As the future unfolds, Couch's economic wisdom
is unveiled. Couch and Willard's presentations on Raw Material Economics
were equally effective in front of governors and politicians, at farmer
meetings, at Chambers of Commerce, at schools, at NORM
conventions, or one-on-one in someone's home. They wrote, built models,
and worked tirelessly to make it easier for the layman to understand foundation
raw material economics. They re-discovered the moving trade turn described
in The Nature of Wealth. They worked with Vince Rossiter to help
keep the statistical analysis of the U.S. economy updated and current.
Kermit could answer questions and articulately debate the logic of and
application of parity economics in the world today. At a time when no hard
numbers had been generated for years concerning the present-day application
of the raw material trade turn to the rest of the economy, Couch and Willard
did the number crunching to keep building NORM's
repository of knowledge. So sure of his knowledge of raw material economics,
while working NORM exhibits at county
fairs, Kermit offered $100 to anyone who could explain how the economy
worked and why the current economic system was doomed to fail. He never
was challenged and he died with that $100 still in his pocket.