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Thread: Will the US Ever Adopt the Metric System?

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    Will the US Ever Adopt the Metric System?

    This may have been dealt with here before, but I'm going to pose the question anyway.

    While searching and browsing certain social and political topics on the Net/Web, as one does, I came across the anti-metrication item below (see link) by an American journalist named Peter Seymour who seems to be associated with an organisation called Americans for Customary Weight and Measure (ACWM). Until I read this article I didn't realise the depth of anti-metric sentiment in the US and the resistance of many Americans to the metrication of the country. Consequently, this raises the question of whether the United States will ever adopt metric.

    http://www.thefreemanonline.org/feat...can-standards/

    I will point out that at 52, I was brought up on the Imperial system of weights and measures--which is very similar to US Customary weights and measures--and taught this in primary school; but with metric conversion under way in Australia when I reached high school at the start of the 1970s, I was taught metric in 1972, which was my second year of high school.

    As a result, I'm pretty fluent in both systems; but if I were asked which system I preferred I would give an unequivocal, clear, and definite answer in favour of metric, which I personally think is a much better and more convenient system of weights and measures.

    But after reading Seymour's article, no doubt many Americans would disagree with this. But I would add that the Americans that disagree with the adoption and use of metric within the US have never had occasion to learn and use it and are not conversant in metric, so their objections to metric are not based on experience or practice.

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    We have limited use of metric, primarily within the manufacturing sector. But in everyday usage we still use the traditional American weights & measures. When I was in school in the 70s we were taught the metric system & told the US would switch over before the end of the (20th) century. It didn't happen. At best we have a dual system. Products bought in the grocery store will have both traditional & metric weights on the packaging, but traditional weights is what matters & what shoppers will look at. If you buy lunchmeats at the deli counter you buy it by the pound not by grams. Milk & dairy creamers are still sold by the gallon or quart. Soda pop is the only thing that has switched over to metric in a limited way. Much soda is still sold in 12oz cans, fountain drinks are still sold in oz, but 2 litre & 500 ml bottle sales are very common. Drugs, both prescription & illegal recreational, are sold by grams.

    America has the highest rate of automobile ownership in the world. Imagine the mass confusion of switching from MPH to KPH. Or trying to calculate distances, "St. Louis 180 KMs, how far is that?". America was surveyed & platted according to miles & acres. Most of the country west of the Appalachias is layed out on a square mile grid pattern. Who wants to resurvey 3 million SqMs into hectares?

    The resistance to metric is part of America's isolationist tradition from before WWII. We don't need to be part of (or like) the rest of the world. Some see is as part of the progression to one world government. In an era where conformity & international standards are in enfringing on the uniqueness of various nations, the fact that Americans are clinging to their tradtional weights & measures is a good sign that there is resistance to the forces of globalism.

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    A very limited use of metric in a subordinate role in everyday matters doesn't qualify as any sort of meaningful experience of using the system and is really not enough to make a judgment on the value of metric. I still really can't understand American resistance to metric, but then I'm clearly not an American.

    I can only go by the experience in this country where conversion to metric was seen as nothing more than an administrative decision and adopting a new system of weights and measures was clearly not seen as having any cultural or social significance, a significance that it seems to have had in other English-speaking countries. The old Imperial system, too, was certainly not seen as anything of historical or traditional attachment or importance, or of any other significance, within this country. Indeed, abandoning the Imperial system in favour of metrication was seen as a relatively minor, if not trivial, administrative matter here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodger View Post
    A very limited use of metric in a subordinate role in everyday matters doesn't qualify as any sort of meaningful experience of using the system and is really not enough to make a judgment on the value of metric. I still really can't understand American resistance to metric, but then clearly I'm not an American.
    Americans are happy with their traditional weights & measures. I understand the convience of the metric system (decimals), we actually adopted it for monetary usage (100¢ = $1.00) but we are comfortable using inches, feet & yards, ounces, pounds & (short)tons, quarts & gallons. It is what we are use to.

    I can only go by the experience in this country where conversion to metric was seen as nothing more than an administrative decision and adopting a new system of weights and measures was clearly not seen as having any cultural or social significance that it seems to have in other English-speaking countries, with the old Imperial system, too, was certainly not seen as anything of historical or traditional importance or significance. Indeed, abandoning the Imperial system in favour of metrication was seen as a relatively minor, if not trivial, administrative matter here.
    There are 50 states, each using (by statute) traditional weights & measures. That is mostly likely why we have a dual system.

    It is a big deal, switching over to metric, for housewives who are use to making comparison shopping based on ounces or gallons, trying to figure out how much they are actually getting when buying by the gram or liter. Or for people estimating how many mpg they are getting vs. km to the liter when purchasing gas.

    I was under the impression that there had been some resistance in Britain to the abandoning of the old Imperial System of weights & measures. There is nothing wrong with having a distinctive national weights & measures system for a domestic economy.

    Metric is a French system based on French weights & measures. It was devised during the French Revolution, with the aim of making the transition from traditional French measures to metric as easy as possible or symbolically. A kilometre is equal to the most extreme distance across France (at the time of the French Revolution) divided by 1000. A metre is that distance divided by 1,000,000.

    But why the concern over the US still using the American System, with all the bitching about Americanization (it is actually Globalization) I would think those same people would be happy with America doing something intentionally different from the rest of the world.

    When America does do away with it traditional weights & measures (by statute) that will be a sign that wer are another step closer to one world government.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric
    Metric is a French system based on French weights & measures.
    This is wrong. The metric system was invented by a German, to get rid of the incoherent measures present in every douchy and kingdom.

    But it wasnt well received at first, so it wasnt implemented. The French were just the first to actually put it in use.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric View Post
    But why the concern over the US still using the American System, with all the bitching about Americanization (it is actually Globalization) I would think those same people would be happy with America doing something intentionally different from the rest of the world.
    Personally I also find the metric system much more convenient.

    But I don't think many people outside the US are concerned with this issue. And I couldn't imagine why someone would be, it doesn't affect us at all what measuring system Americans are using. It's not like Americanization/Globalization is imposing the imperial system on other countries.

    At least they drive on the proper side of the road.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric
    Americans are happy with their traditional weights & measures. I understand the convience of the metric system (decimals), we actually adopted it for monetary usage (100¢ = $1.00) but we are comfortable using inches, feet & yards, ounces, pounds & (short)tons, quarts & gallons. It is what we are use to.
    Well if you are happy with the system that you have got, that is the best argument for retaining it. But the fact that it is familiar is no real argument for retaining one system if another better system is available and accessible. We were in this country used to the British imperial system for generations, but it took only a little effort to change to a system that is overwhelmingly considered better by the people here that use it. And we are in a good position to judge as we have learnt and used both metric and imperial systems. I wouldn't go back to using pounds, gallons, and miles for quids, even though I could still use the old weights and measures if I had to.


    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric
    It is a big deal, switching over to metric, for housewives who are use to making comparison shopping based on ounces or gallons, trying to figure out how much they are actually getting when buying by the gram or liter. Or for people estimating how many mpg they are getting vs. km to the liter when purchasing gas.
    Yeah, so what? Housewives and motorists have to make a change, it takes some time and some mental effort, but it can be done provided there is the will to do it. I repeat what I said in my first post, I was brought up using the imperial system and many people my age and older had to learn a whole new system of weights and measures, but we did and it wasn't a big deal. And I was in my early 20s when metrication was fully effected in Australia and I started to use it in place of the old imperial units. It seems to me that too many people are just too mentally lazy to make an effort to learn a new and better standardised system of weights and measures. It is not that the US Customary system is inherently or practically better than metric, it is because people lack the will to make an effort to learn a new system and change. Laziness and inertia are the real enemies of change.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heinrich Harrer
    IBut I don't think many people outside the US are concerned with this issue. And I couldn't imagine why someone would be, it doesn't affect us at all what measuring system Americans are using. It's not like Americanization/Globalization is imposing the imperial system on other countries.
    It is no doubt a matter of indifference to most people outside the US what system of weights and measures are used there. That is the reason I put this under the US section of the board and not under a more general section heading. But what caught my attention in the first place was the strident, almost militant, tone of Peter Seymour's article on the anti-metric stance within the US, and the fact that he sneered at another English-speaking country, Canada, for being 'compliant' for converting to metric. This got me wondering why would such a simple matter as metrication, even if he disagreed with it, could and would be taken so seriously in the United States to elicit such a response.

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    Metrics

    We've been trying to drop one system and use one exclusively for years. I'm sick of having too work in two or three differnt systems. We would all love to standardize on one. Welcome to the wonderful technical world of "Anglo-English", Metric and Societe International Metrics...

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    I have never come across someone being vehemently anti-metric. But I have noticed a significant number of Americans online that will fanatically defend their right to continue doing something just because that's what they want to do and have done for a long time, even to their or their children's detriment.

    The imperial system as you call it was the default system to me until metric was introduced to me in school sometime before high school. I used metric for everything scholarly through high school and college (university for you Aussies), from chemistry to physics to biology. In short, I think in metric all the time except for certain exceptions. The speed limit signs are in miles per hour, so in driving speed and distance I am familiar with miles. But as for physics problems, meters and kilometers are king. My mom was trying to teach me some basic cooking recipes and I had to be reminded how many ounces are in a pound, and what a cup, pint, etc. are. I of course know how long a foot is and am familiar with a gallon of milk, but that's about where my knowledge stops.

    I practically have made the transition to metric. But it was less of a transition than it was learning from an early age and usage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Autosomal Viking
    The imperial system as you call it...
    I call it the imperial system because that's what it is called, and has been since 1824. See:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_units

    http://www.codecogs.com/reference/un...ial_system.php

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