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 generations.
Carl H. Wilken 
John Lee Coulter 
Charles B. Ray 
J. Carson Adkerson 
Arnold "Red" Paulson 
Charles Walters, Jr. 
Vince Rossiter 
Kermit Couch
Carl H. Wilken

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 be prevented.

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 "Founding Fathers."

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 over time.

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 Great Depression.

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 NORM. 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

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 Council.

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

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 earnings.

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.

Kermit Couch

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. 

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