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Bri_L's avatar

Why hasn't the US gone Metric?

Asked by Bri_L (12206points) August 21st, 2008

Except for certain sporting events and 2 liter bottles of soda, why haven’t we? When I was a kid in 6th grade we were learning all about it because it was the way everyone was going.

Here is a map of the countries left that are NOT metric.

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35 Answers

crunchaweezy's avatar

Think different.

trumi's avatar

We are too lazy. And it’s pathetic.

Harp's avatar

One reason up to now has been that it would have cost a fortune for manufacturers to retool their production lines and to adapt their designs to different standard material dimensions, etc. This has become less of a reason as of the past few decades, since very little manufacturing is done here anymore anyway.

Still, any changeover would demand a high degree of coordination all along the supply chains of our remaining industries, and I suspect that no one has a clue how to make that happen. In other parts of the world, the change occured largely by government fiat: as of such-and-such a date, we’re on the metric standard. Here, the captains of industry don’t take kindly to the government handing down such mandates.

Mitsu_Neko's avatar

some tools and stuff are also metric.But our country is too lazy to learn the conversions

phred78's avatar

Because you like to let us Europeans do all the conversions? If it’s any consolation to you, English are still driving on the wrong side of the road :P

Harp's avatar

On the positive side, my two kids reflexively use metric units when they’re estimating lengths. At least the schools seem to be doing their bit.

blastfamy's avatar

After taking Physics and Chemistry, I am baffled by the fact that the US does not use metric. Hell, we’re a nation of idiots and metric is easier to understand than the US system. I agree with Harp, that it all has to do with Industries’ unwillingness to change;

The only thing I can’t wrap my head around is metric temperature. Maybe it’s because I’ve been drinking the ‘70 degrees outside’ cool-aid for too long!

Here’s to hoping that someone higher up sees reason really soon.

phred78's avatar

70 degrees celsius would turn you into a very hot person.

Mitsu_Neko's avatar

i can only figure out that 32F is 0C and 100 C is boiling temperature

Bri_L's avatar

What amazes me is how easy the measurements are within themselves. It would just be so much easier.
measuring with cm and mm is SOOO much easier.

trumi's avatar

@Bri; Oh yeah, the Metric system makes much more sense. We just don’t want to spend the money it will take to change. Although, I wonder how much it would save eventually….

Bri_L's avatar

@ trumi – lets see what is that in metric dollars…..

trumi's avatar

Sixteen Lurve?

Indy318's avatar

I believe back in the 70s such a change was proposed (I’m sure some of our more aged remember); however, the conversion wasn’t widely accepted by the population. “oh my God, what the hell is a Ki-lo-me-ter?” American are too arrogant and stubborn to honesty agree the English (along Britain no longer uses it) system is flawed. How many of us know how Manu inches there are in a mile or ounces in a gallon? The prefer metric because conversion are less tidious (just move the decimal place). Aside from the costs for replacing our infrastructure and educating the population, converting to metric would greatly benefit us in international trade and commerce.

Bri_L's avatar

I was just looking at how many things already have the metric along side the english any way. Quite a bit.

marinelife's avatar

Idiocy and greed.

phred78's avatar

Whose feet did they use to set the standard? I’ve always had this doubt…
Anyway, the metric system is “easier” as some of you point out, because it has a base of 10, originally related to our 10 fingers. I was making a joke previously about the conversions because it’s hard for me to get a copy of a cooking magazine or book from the US and everything comes in lb and oz and what not. I still don’t know what an oz is :S

ezraglenn's avatar

@phred, except for those of us who are already very hot people.

gooch's avatar

Actually it has. The US official measurement system is metric. Just read official government publications they use the metric system.The people have been resistant to the change.

Bri_L's avatar

@ gooch – no kidding! So it really is my fault like my wife has been saying. Dammit!!!

augustlan's avatar

@Bri L: You brought back some memories…when I was in 6th grade, we spent months learning the metric system, because it was “coming any day!” Our training culminated in the “Metric Olympics”, an event I doubly dreaded, as I had not quite mastered all the conversions and I wasn’t particularly athletic, either. Even at that young age, I could see the wisdom of switching to metric and can not fathom why we still haven’t!

blastfamy's avatar

Maybe it’s all of that corporal punishment the powers that be (then-kids) received while in school!

Meter sticks for beatings anyone?

Bri_L's avatar

Kids Have Died Over Doing Conversions In Metric

Kilo Hecto Deca One Deci Centi Mili

Anyone remember that

Knotmyday's avatar

give ‘em a foot, they take a meter.

LanceVance's avatar

Dunno, but that question would be more appropriate at the time of Apollo 13.

Bri_L's avatar

@LanceVance – now, what would Apollo 13 have been in metric? Apollo 130?

LanceVance's avatar

AFAIK, the Apollo 13 failure, albeit it was succesful in the end, was due to the wrong conversion between metric and imperial units.

Bri_L's avatar

@LanceVance – what does “AFAIK” mean?

amanderveen's avatar

I’ve always wondered why the US hasn’t made the switch. Canada switched over not that long ago. My parent still “speak” imperial in many instances – feet, inches, tablespoons, teaspoons, pounds, gallons, etc, but for the most part everyone uses metric. I’m accustomed to doing rough conversions in my head only because we get so much of it from US products and programming.

Chalking up the US’s reticence to switch to mere inconvenience doesn’t totally hold water with me. If Canada could make the switch even our “big brother” down south refusing to, then I don’t see why the US can’t manage as well. It would cost manufacturing money to switch over, but it would also make it easier to market products throughout the rest of the world. Companies that export their products already have to have metric lines in a lot of cases anyway. A large portion of Canadian products are made in the US, but we can still get stuff in metric.

C’mon, make the switch. School children of the future would appreciate it, lol.

The English confuse me a bit, though. They primarily use metric, but their roadsigns are still in miles…. Go figure. :o)

LanceVance's avatar

@Bri_L, “as far as i know”

Bri_L's avatar

AH, thanks. hehe

blastfamy's avatar

@amanderveen, really? I could have sworn that I saw signs that gave km as units in pictures…

amanderveen's avatar

@blastfamy – When I was there two years ago, everything was in miles. I asked my brother-in-law about it and he said that it was one carry over. He figured his fellow Brits were just too stubborn to budge on that one, lol.

johanna's avatar

I am trying to master the American system as an adult and damn it is difficult. I cannot wrap my head around pounds, oz. miles, inches, feet and all the weird stuff. I wonder if i will ever stop translating everything to the metric system?

john65pennington's avatar

Mainly because the people did not want to change the system.

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