China Used More Cement In The Last Three Years Than The US Used In The Entire 20th Century

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Bill Gates recently called out a staggering fact from the historian Vaclav Smil :

The significance of cement can't be understated. A powdery substance made  with calcined lime and clay, it is a binder that enables the creation of concrete (along with water and gravel or sand).

Concrete, according to Smil (whom Gates calls his favorite author), is the most important man-made material in history.  It has been used in everything from the Pantheon to the Hoover Dam to China's incredibly big Three Gorges Dam .

Where there's cement consumption, there's growth, and there's never been anything like what's happening in China.
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