Diversified industries are likely
is a poor memory that only remembers the past", according to "Alice in
Wonderland", but a poor memory seems increasingly a hindrance in our
That we only remember the past does not cut us off entirely from thinking in the future.
Before getting into possible futures in the Chippewa Valley, here are a few ideas how the future may be viewed:
The Future is What You Make It - We may view the future as being in the distance so we need to get closer to better determine the outline and dimensions. Another way is to see the future being build from building blocks of the present. If someone asks, "What is the future of ?" one answer is, "What do you want it to be?"
Everyone is a Futurist - Everyone spends time and energy on plans for a future. We buy insurance, carry a spare tire and say, "I'll be over to see you next week." These skills in future planning can be improved through practice and learning from others.
Projections not predictions - Making a projection requires understanding of past trends and events as well as present conditions. Predictions are like a "one-shot" expression of something which might happen. History becomes functional in projecting present situations into the future.
Alternatives Should be Developed - There are numerous possibilities of what may happen in the future, and some of these should be explored so there is no surprise when they happen.
Values Need to be Identified - Various alternatives developed will need to be "valued" by individuals and inhibited or enhanced. Americans are pragmatic and have not encouraged the skill of setting goals and working for them. Developing future alternatives should help people in this kind of activity.
The future is lurking in the present - The present is generally quite visible. The past is in our memories and examined in much of our literature, but the future is in furtive moments noticed by a sensitive person aware that such things exist.
Given these ideas for looking at the future, here is a look at some national trends and implications for the Chippewa Valley.
Population to increase
population is increasing at a slower rate, becoming older and moving away from
large urban areas. If these trends hold for the Chippewa Valley, we can expect
a larger percentage of the increase in population.
As the work force grows older, workers may expect different benefits from a company (more security, better working conditions, more fringe benefits) rather than more money younger workers may want.
As population increases in this area, as a reaction against urban living, residents will want services and options generally associated with small towns. A garden, walking to schools, friendly neighbors, locally-owned stores are some expectations.
was a great migration from farm to factory in the first half of the 1900's. Now
migration is from manufacturing to services.
The percentage of work force in manufacturing continues to decline, and some projections are goods can be produced with no more than the 4-5 percent that produces agricultural food and fiber.
Use of robots, computers and automation will replace many people now doing dull, routine or dangerous jobs.
The increase in jobs comes from the service sector: health care, government, education, entertainment, sales, transportation, repair, etc.
Schools should reflect this to retain workers in a mid-career change as well as initial preparation. These are costly services because each takes personal attention and these people cannot be replaced by a machine. Young people reared in a small town or rural atmosphere should be able to move very well into a service field.
was a need to centralize industrial production facilities in World War II, but
since then there has been a dispersal arrangement. Small branch plants have
been placed away from congested areas. Rapid transportation by rail and truck
has encouraged a wider distribution of plants.
The work force has been mobile and generally available. The Chippewa Valley has experienced this expansion and there is no reason to believe it will stop.
There should continue to be attractive places for small plants or companies to settle in this area.
The knowledge industry
society has relied upon different groups of people in development, but these
groups change as conditions change. There has been a great reliance upon
farmers, small businessmen, bankers, skilled labor and managers at various
times, but the near future seems to belong to the professional and technical
This is not to say everyone in our society is not important, certainly every segment makes a contribution, but some kinds of people seem ore important at certain stages of a society's development.
As problems develop in pollution, environment, economy, employment, resources, crime, energy, health care and a host of others, the technically-trained professional is expected to have some answers.
The Chippewa Valley is rich with institutions to help supply these kind of people. The University of Wisconsin system and area Vocational, Technical and Adult Education centers must continue to grow, develop and ready people technically prepared to help solve problems in not only this area, but in a wider geographic range.
first, rise of special interest groups would not seem to have an impact upon the
business and industrial segment of our society, but there are a number of
interfaces. Americans have great expectations and concerns for their life
The time they spend in work may become increasingly less important and their out-of-work time more important. As there is a decrease in consensus and authority and a wider variety in life styles, these people will not want others to invade their privacy or "mess up" their environment.
These special interests will band together for political purposes to effect legislation restricting freedom of movement and expression. These two forces, more diversity and more personal concern for self, will continue to supply tensions resulting in a tug of war over industrial and commercial expansion. The Chippewa Valley is a prime target.
Increased affluence and leisure
trends will affect this area. As people get more disposable income, along with
more time to spend on out-of-work activities, there comes a change in
allocations of money, time and leisure.
More vacations, more eating out, plays, recreation vehicles, camping, motels, conventions, etc., are a few of those important in this area.
People are going to spend money somewhere, and the perceptive businessman who can provide some people with what they want is assured of a profit. The problem is how to meet these needs and still keep the kind of area wanted.
Energy and the environment
of energy and people's concern for the environment will be powerful factors in
industrial development of the Chippewa Valley.
Most sources project increases in power production in the next 30 years will come from nuclear sources. Will it be allowed?
Development of Tyrone Energy Park will guarantee adequate energy for this area for the near future, but at what price to the environment?
Many factors, forces change
other factors and forces will influence changes in the Chippewa Valley, but
these are some of the important ones and should provide examples of possible
We are always in a period of transition, but the present period will seem to have an historical counterpart. By 1910-1915, the great white pine forests had been floated down the Red Cedar and Chippewa rivers. There was no longer a need for a large labor force to work mills and logs.
Agriculture was not expanding, it was raising more with fewer people and more machines.
Typical of the country as a whole, Safety Tire Co. and Presto Industries were started and provided employment for a large segment of the labor force.
Within the last year, both of these companies have been concerned with their immediate future as viable employers. This is in keeping with change from a manufacturing to a service economy.
If relatively large manufacturing plants are not going to act as a stable and expansive employer, then who will? The answer seems to be a wider variety of diversified industries.
The health industry, transportation industry, computer industry, tourism industry, knowledge industry, governmental agencies, synthetic materials industry, sales force, entertainment industry, repair and recycling industries and others.
If expansion can be controlled so the environment does not deteriorate, this may become a much better place in which to live. We will become more self-sufficient, have a greater variety of jobs from which to choose, be included in a general economic increase in wealth and still be able to avail ourselves of "creature comforts" and amenities of life for ourselves and our children.
But this will not all be free or come automatically; it must be "wished for", "planned for" and "worked for". It these are the only requirements, there is no reason it will not come about.
--Lee H. Smalley,
--Jim Friday, Peter Craemer, researchers
Extracted from the Eau
Claire Leader Telegram
Special Publication, Our Story 'The Chippewa Valley and Beyond', published 1976
Used with permission.