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"The crash" is a phrase sometimes used in socialist writings; perhaps first coined by Eduard Bernstein, in the 19th century. The phrase is commonly understood as referring to a metaphor, one of modern industrial society as a train; one which is going to derail and crash. Theodore Kaczynski is notable for encouraging terrorists to cause such a "crash", arguing that the sooner the crash comes, the less severe it will be. Many socialists argue that the crash will occur when global oil supplies run out, when global warming and pollution reaches a certain critical point, or when global population exceeds carrying capacity.

Many eco-anarchists claim that capitalism will cause a crash by using up resources; not just oil, but fertile land, etcetera. Many theories also state capitalism therefore cannot truly work in the long term simply because the nature of the system requires all resources to be used in order for the economy to prosper. It is also said that capitalism is only a short term system, and is incapable of creating or sustaining any long term growth without an eventual devastating crash. Many socialists believed that the crash finally arrived when the Great Depression landed in the United States in 1929, a time when capitalism did not look very attractive to the world's many citizens. This encouraged many people to flee to the Soviet Union in a hope for a better world.

However, most capitalists will argue that such theories will not function in stopping a crash unless a permanent state of oppression exists; and that it is human nature and not capitalism which creates a crash. This basically states that it is only natural for humans to want to "push the boundaries", that communist/socialist theory has no way of stopping this, and that nothing is truly permanent in the sense that man will always have a will to evolve his own creations into something better in one way or another.

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