We are witnessing a maturing of significant technologies and industries in this country that have propelled us forward since World War II and given us prosperity. Without a new form of cooperation between the government and business and labor, and hopefully environmentalists, we will not be able to mobilize the capital or develop the industrial strategy to regain an adequate rate of economic prosperity and competitiveness.
The near-bankruptcy of Chrysler, the lack of competitiveness on the part of many of our steel mills and in a number of other industries are just signs that the basis of our industrial prosperity -- sustained economic growth that has allowed for a certain liberal politics in this country -- is seriously eroding. It will not be corrected by either a few tax cuts, as suggested by the conservatives, or continued deficit spending, as suggested by some of the liberals.
It's going to take a more fundamental restructuring of the relationship between government and business -- not eactly as it is done in Japan and Germany, but using those general models and trying to adapt them for America. We have to recognize that the management of aggregate demand is inadequate, and we have to target specific industries for assistance. We have to recognize that perhaps some other industries will not be competitive over the long term. I don't think our generalized policies of either tax cuts or tax credits are adequate.
We need a mode of planning selectivity in both our credit and our investment tax credit policies that will allow us to undertake what I call reindustrializing the country, building on our strengths and finding a role compatible with the activities of other countries throughout the world and with the rising price of and restraint on raw materials. I think that's a long-term process. I don't think there are easy, ready answers right off the shelf, but I don't see any evidence that President Carter has even begun to talk about this, and it is something that I believe is the key issue that faces this nation for the rest of this century.
And I am trying in my own campaign to conceptualize this process as clearly as I can and bring it to the attention of people so that we can develop both an energy policy and an economic policy that come to grips with the fact that the slowdown in productivity, the weakness in the dollar, a persistent inflation, our lack of competitiveness abroad is not just a function of the corporate tax and capital gains tax, or OSHA regulations, or EPA, or any of these very simplistic bogeymen that have been trotted out as the explantion. I think it is far deeper than that, and therefore requires an analysis such as I have begun and some specific steps that I am preparing to outline as I go through the campaign.
Our domestic inflation and dollar weakness are directly related and substantially contribute to the price increases by OPEC. I don't say that there's a one-to-one relationship, but the price of oil as against gold hasn't gone up at all, and for four years after the oil embargo, the price of oil actually dropped relative to other currencies, particularly the German mark.
Our own domestic inflation, which I believe to be a response to the failure to recognize the slowdown in our basic technologies and industries, feeds right into the dynamic of price rises by OPEC that are attempts to compensate for the weakness in their own dollar holdings. The entire international monetary system is being profoundly disturbed by our inability to control inflation. I think we first have to recognize that connection and educate people to the maximum degree. I'm not saying it's going to occur in one year or two years or three years, but people have to understand that within our own country we have both the problem and the opportunity for solution. What I would attempt to do is to make these connections in as graphic a way as I can.
I've tried to make that link, and that's why I've said foreign oil should not be the province of private companies but should be the province of the U.S. government, as it is in most other governments in the world, and that not only should it be based on government-to-government negotiation on price, but also it ought to be connected to a commitment for a scheduled reduction in inflation to minimal amounts. Technology transfer and other ingredients ought to be connected to a commitment for a scheduled reduction in inflation to minimal amounts. Technology transfer and other ingredients ought to make a much greater emphasis on our relationship to Mexico as well as Canada. I see persistent misunderstanding there. The Carter administration criticized the Mexican price increase. I didn't hear any criticism about the Nigerian price increase.
Carter has persistently talked about the MX missile. I've tried to point out that a mass transit system for missiles is not going to make our security better. The president ought to say: "No I think we ought to take that money and put it into the cities of America, and cut down on energy consumption, increase mobility for poor people who can't afford to pay the rising costs, provide more American jobs in ways that have no negative impact on the environment, and focus people's thinking on where the true threat to this country lies." And it lies in the lack of sufficiency in our own resource base and the lack of stable relationships that will allow us to pursue viable policies over the long term.
I recognize the difficulty between the executive and the Congress. I don't think that's a new phenomenon. I think it existed under Ford, it existed under Nixon, it existed under Kennedy in the early '60s. It's part of what I see as an unwinding of American concepts that, while viable in this post-World War II period, are now becoming unworkable. And we're going through a period in which there is not a strong unity, or what I would call a governing coalition.
The Democratic Party is falling apart, in my judgment. I need no better example than the state of California, where the speaker is now engaged in a battle with his majority leader for the control of our own legislative party. It also is shown by my own relationships with the legislature. It's shown by Carter's relationship with the Congress. There is no easy road, there's no one personality that is going to change that.
I would rather see the building of a new coalition based not just on the eloquence of a new leader, but on the redefinition of America's role in the world, of a more enlightened approach to our own reindustrialization, and the building of a coalition based on that; and then, through that process, developing the ability to bring about decisive action in Congress. It's going to take a while. I don't know whether it can be done in 18 months. It's going to be a long period. But I think we have to begin now, and the naive thought that a new personality in the White House is going to change the basic terms under which we're now functioning, I don't accept. I think we have to develop concepts that are appropriate to both the fragmentation in the world and our own peaking or plateauing in significant industries.
To make that just a little more precise, in the '50s and the '60s we had a 3 percent growth in productivity, which was matched by an equivalent per capita increase in personal income. Out of that we developed a rather generous politics that allowed for government to grow, more social experimentation to take place in the public sector, profits to accrue to business, wages to be provided to workers. With what I call the maturity of these significant industries, that 3 percent has been reduced to less than 1 percent. The annual dividend is no longer there.
Our response to date has been to inflate the monetary supply, to try to create a money illusion that this underlying industrial slowdown has not occurred. I think the president has to explain this to people and indicate that it will be a long process to try to build our way out of it. And instead of doing that, things are getting worse.
I believe that our industrial assets are deteriorating. To overcome that is going to take massive amounts of capital. I think there's a direct parallel in the environmental field. We are shipping out topsoil at unacceptable levels down the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and will pass on to the next generation a depleted soil base. We are squandering environmental assets. The same can be said about fisheries, forests and the toxic chemicals that are just now being understood and being discovered.
We have an enviromental, we have a technological base, and then we have a human pool of capital that is not being trained and mobilized for the kind of work that we have to do. And while we live off this capital and see it declining, there is all this rhetoric going on and we are not getting to the heart of the problem -- that America, in terms of its own history, is changing quite profoundly, that nobody is explaining this in a way that makes sense to me. And the basis of my campaign and the basis of my presidency will be to alert the American people to what the choice is.
The only choice, as I see it, is to reduce consumption, to shift our capital to more investment -- environmental, technological and human -- and use both the public and the private sector, use changes in the credit, changes in the tax law, changes in the regulatory process, but push always in the directin of what I call reindustrializing the country to sustain our needs and our competitive position. ign." That absence, when compared with Bush's painstakingly built organ