The American genius lies quite as much in distribution as in manufacturing. Other peoples have demonstrated equal or greater creative ability in many fields. And it is debatable whether their talents are any less at mass production given adequate economic demand. But they have nowhere shown the American genius for distribution. It is axiomatic that if you manufacture in Detroit and your potential customer lives in New York, you need mutual friends. We seem to have figured out better ways to provide better friends for this purpose than any other nation.

But manufacturing came first. Someone had to build a mousetrap and someone then had to build a better one. Only then did it become apparent that the adage isn't necessarily true-that the mere fact of a better mousetrap is no guarantee of beaten paths-and that even the better mousetraps must be moved out to make room for more.