America vs. the Metric System

While most of the world moved on to the metric system, counties like the USA and the United Kingdom still cling to the imperial way of measuring weight and distances. In the past, there were several attempts to change this, but they have all been unsuccessful.

The first attempt dates back to the late 18th century when Thomas Jefferson tried to push the nation towards using a system based on decimals. After that, in 1906, Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, told Congress that not many people are aware of the amount of unnecessary labor needed to use their current systems. These were both highly influential men in their own right, but their statements were not met with much understanding.


In 1968, when the United States Congress authorized a three-year study, things seemingly started moving in the right direction. Congress even devised a 10-year plan with detailed measures that need to be taken in order to achieve this. Unfortunately, the switch was not made. Many influential people were opponents of the idea. In the end, they won over the people. A Gallup poll was created at the time and a staggering 45 percent of people declared

that they oppose the switch to the metric system.

The Cost Outweighs the Benefits 

In all honesty, there is not much sense in switching to the metric system, especially now. The biggest issue is cost. Large and small manufacturers need to revise all of their packaging for every product that includes a weight or a length. Every person has to switchout their measuring tools. Even calculating outside temperature may be time-consuming, if we take into account the conversion from Fahrenheit to Celsius.

Even people that are for the metric system are starting to see that it may just become an annoyance. The time and resources it takes to fully integrate the metric system can be much better allocated.

Metric Creep 

Still, the general consensus is that the switch is going to happen. The only thing is that it is going to happen organically and over a large period of time. Americans already use some metric measurements in everyday life. They measure soda by the liters. Car manufacturers switched to millimeters when measuring the size of car parts. In medicine, they started using milligrams when prescribing prescriptions.

Even experts are aware that the change is coming. The problem is its coming very slowly.

It seems like it is going to a game of inches. Or is it centimeters?

Editor's Picks

Lee has one of the most genuine smiles you have ever seen. His warm smile, and friendly personally give evidence of just how much joy he finds in his research. He has worked on numerous projects, which seek to learn more about terrible illnesses, with the hope of learning how to eradicate them altogether. Lee is also a huge basketball fan and is often found shooting hoops whenever he is not buried in a pile of books in his lab. He also makes time to coach at-risk youths and finds ingenious ways to remind them of the beauty of science even while they play around.

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