Steel: Race to the Seacoasts

Most of the free world's steelmaking centers, from Britain's Midlands to the U.S.'s western Pennsylvania, cluster around their major sources of coal or iron ore. Over the last century, France and Germany fought three bloody wars partly motivated by the belief that joining the Ruhr coalfields to the ore of the Saar basin would give the victor economic hegemony over Europe. Today, the march of technology is revolutionizing the economics and geography of the world's most basic industry. From Tokyo to Naples, steelmen are moving to the sea, erecting new plants hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of miles from even...

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