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I would have read this in a mixed-author anthology sometime between 1977 and 1982. Or, just possibly, a school book.

It was a short-short, basically a single scene where a crowd of dignitaries plus a band are on hand for the ceremonial completion of paving the entire planet. My recollection is this was taking place in a mountainous region, the Andes coming most readily to mind. The line "I now declare the world completely paved" was said, and then the story ends with the band rattling and tootling to silence as everyone asphyxiates.

The anthology may have included "The Machine Stops" since I read that in the same year. (But there are a lot of anthologies that include TMS.)

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  • 3
    If user14111 pops in 5 minutes from now with a link to a previous answer again, I'm gonna ask for a remedial class in searching this site. :)
    – DavidW
    Commented Feb 23, 2019 at 5:15
  • 1
    scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/162928/…
    – Möoz
    Commented Feb 23, 2019 at 5:44
  • So basically it's a story about living in London?
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 23, 2019 at 8:51
  • Another story along this theme is Not Counting Bridges by Robert L. Fish, but that doesn't end with everyone dying either. Commented Feb 23, 2019 at 18:41

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