In the late sixties my dad[i] wrote a book intended to help junior high school age kids to learn economics. I was about the age of his target audience at the time. Pop used my siblings and me as a sort of informal focus group to test the appropriateness of his work for the age group.

He freely indulged his fondness for bad puns and tried to create a book that was as much fun for kids to read as it was for him to write. I don’t think it made a lot of money although it was published commercially[1]; He just did it for the fun of it.

He was then, in addition to being the father of a large family (seven children at the time) a professor of Economic Education at Ohio University.  He had a number of other text books in print, but this was the only one that had a target audience in this age group. 

Many of the characters in the book were named for family members; most of the kids got bit parts. According the younger kids at least, that made us “famous”.

The book is titled “Life on Paradise Island”.

When this project started it was my intention to see if I could resurrect this book, which has been out of print for many years, and make it available in electronic form to home school users and any other interested parties. I thought Pop would have liked that.

It was difficult, bordering on impossible, to track down reliable information about the copyright of the book. The original publisher once held it. It granted rights in some form to another publisher who printed a library edition. The original publisher was sold to still another publisher, who sold some, but not all of its assets to yet another. The library edition publisher was also sold, more than once. The copyright law was changed between publication and the time the copyright would have expired.

I gathered some advice from folks I trust who know much more about these issues than I do. I then made the decision that if someone objects to my making use of my fathers words they will have to make me stop.

If you or your children want to learn about free market economics you should consider this book. It describes a simple and quite beautiful system that works without any central directing force to grow and improves life’s productive processes. It is a remarkable, nearly magical, system of spontaneous order. Papa’s Paradise Island book is worthy of your attention.

Look for the attachments at the bottom of these pages for a downloadable version of the original work.

Anyway, I am going use this as an opportunity, or perhaps just an excuse, to put a few thoughts together and make a few comments.

I am my father’s son, but I never was, in the academic sense, his student.

I am, in my professional life, a software engineer and project manager in the telecommunications industry.

Not long ago I found myself temporarily serving as an instructor, doing classroom training on a software system that my company produces. I taught a two week training session at half a dozen different sites. I had worked on this system for several years and thought I knew pretty much all there was to know about it. In the course of my temporary teaching assignment I learned more than the students possibly could have.

One of the things I want to accomplish in this bit of scribbling is to learn the subject matter in a way that only trying to explain it to others can bring about. I believe that a functional understanding of economics, like any other branch of knowledge, is mostly about having a good grasp of the basics.

So, I propose to examine in some detail, this, the most elementary of pop’s published works. It could be that I learned something from him in spite of myself. I hope so, but the reader will have to be the judge.

Creative Commons License
Deconstructing Paradise Island by Roman & James Warmke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at sites.google.com.

[1] Scott, Foresman and Company, 1970

[i] Roman Francis Warmke (1929-1985)


Family: Born November 23, 1929, in Easton, MN; died March 29, 1985; married Dorothy Rose Emmer, 1952 (divorced 1974); married Anna Linea Phillips, 1977; children: (first marriage) Jonathan, James, Jerome, Julie Ann, Joseph, Matthew; Roman; stepchildren: Jennifer, Kristen, Jeffery.

Education: University of Minnesota, B.S., 1951, M.A., 1952, Ph.D., 1960; postdoctoral study at University of Northern Colorado, University of Minnesota, and Ohio University.

Memberships: American Economic Association, American Educational Research Association, National Council for the Social Studies, National Business Education Association, American Council on Consumer Interests, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Academy of National Consumer Education Scholars, Delta Phi Epsilon, Phi Delta Kappa.

Austin Junior College, Austin, MN, instructor in marketing and economics, 1952-54; Colorado State College (now University of Northern Colorado), Greeley, assistant professor, 1954-56, associate professor, 1956-60, professor of business and business education, 1960-62, director of Center for Economic Education, 1962; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, director of economic education, 1962-66; Ohio University, Athens, professor of economic education, 1966--, chairman of department, 1966-72, 1975--, director of Center for Economic Education, 1979--. Visiting lecturer at National University of Mexico, 1960; visiting professor at University of Washington, 1963, Colorado State College (now University of Northern Colorado), 1964, Brigham Young University, 1965, and Mara Institute of Technology, Shah Alam, Malaysia, 1972-73, 1976, 1977, 1979, and 1980. Executive director, Minnesota State Council on Economic Education, 1962-66; Ohio Council on Economic Education, trustee, 1966--, president, 1966-72, member of executive committee, 1978--. Owner of J & W Enterprises (real estate and construction business). Guest lecturer for "The American Economy" television series, Columbia Broadcasting System, 1963, and "Insite" television series, University of Missouri--Columbia, 1975. Member of national advisory committee, Joint Council on Economic Education. Consultant to economics faculty, Mara Institute of Technology, 1972-73; consultant to numerous schools, businesses, and financial institutions.

Distinguished Service Award, Minnesota State Council on Economic Education, 1966.


  • (Contributor) Die Deutsche Berufs--und Fachschule, Rheininbessische Druckwerkstaette E. Dietl & Co., 1951.
  • (Contributor) Business Education World, Gregg Publishing Division, McGraw, 1957.
  • Supervision to Improve Instruction (monograph), Office of Education, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1959.
  • Distributive Education Issues (monograph), South-Western, 1961.
  • (Study director) Harlan M. Smith, editor, Study Guide for Selected Sixty-Session Series of "The American Economy" TV Films, Joint Council on Economic Education, 1964.
  • (With Carroll A. Nolan) Marketing, Sales Promotion, and Advertising, 7th edition, South-Western, 1965, 8th edition published as Marketing in Action, 1976.
  • (Editor with Gerald Draager) Selected Readings in Economic Education, College of Business Administration, Ohio University, 1969.
  • (With W. Harmon Wilson) Life on Paradise Island: Economic Life on an Imaginary Island, Scott, Foresman, 1970.
  • (With Wyllie, Wilson, and Eyster) Consumer Economic Problems, 8th edition, South-Western, 1971, 9th edition, 1977, 10th edition, as Consumer Economics, with Eugene D. Wyllie only, South-Western Publishing Co., 1983, 11th edition, with others, 1988.
  • (Contributor with G. Draayer) Economic Education Experiences of Enterprising Teachers, Joint Council on Economic Education, 1971.
  • (With Wyllie and Sellers) Consumer Decision Making: Guides to Better Living, South-Western, 1972, 2nd edition, 1977.
  • (With Chandriah Appa Rao) Economics, Longman (Malaysia), 1974.
  • (With Wyllie) Free Enterprise in the United States, South-Western. 1980.
  • The Study of Economics, C. E. Merrill, 1980.
  • The Study and Teaching of Economics, C. E. Merrill, 1980.
  • (With G. Dean Palmer) Principles of Marketing, South-Western Publishing Co., 1985.

Author of educational films and documentaries for Columbia Broadcasting System, 1963, KTCA-TV, Minneapolis, 1965, National Educational Television, 1971, and Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1981. Contributor to periodicals, including Business Education Forum, Land Use Survey, National Business Quarterly, Social Education, and Journal of Economic Education. Editor for American Vocational Association, 1959-65, and of special issues of Business Education Forum, 1965 and 1966.



ePub - Life on Paradise Island .epub
Jim Warmke,
Jun 27, 2012, 1:38 PM
Jim Warmke,
Jan 27, 2012, 7:58 AM
mobi - Life on Paradise Island .mobi
Jim Warmke,
Jun 27, 2012, 1:38 PM
Jim Warmke,
Jun 27, 2012, 1:39 PM