We all remember those sessions we had in school that taught us about this strange and foreign concept called the metric system. This system of measurement, which functions on the basis of the number ten no matter how big or small it’s becoming, came with a whole new scale of conversions that American children had to learn on top of the standard measurement system of pounds, feet and gallons. As with any sort of foreign language or idea we tend to stick to what we learned first, and for most people in American school systems that’s the standard system of measurements. However the metric system does have a lot of advantages that just aren’t talked about very often.
Let’s start with the heavy hitter; the metric system is the standard system of measurement over large parts of the world. This means that if the United States wants to export items to a foreign country then American business interests might feel confused when countries with eager buyers aren’t interested in products that aren’t metric. Think about the same frustration you have if you’re importing an expensive car from Japan and then none of the measurements are in inches or fractions of an inch, so none of your tools will work to fix the vehicle. Reverse that and make it almost the entire world that America wants to export to. Perhaps the biggest reason to change systems right there is a matter of economy and of shrinking the world just one more degree.
Additionally, the metric system was specifically created by scientific professionals in order to make measuring as simple and straightforward as possible. This is why every alteration in the metric system is done by the number 10. There are no other numbers to remember or awkward conversion formulas to use… everything simply is multiplied or divided by the number 10 per level. For those who think standard is a better measurement system, ask yourself how many inches are in a yard. Or how many quarts in a gallon. There is no standard, easy to remember and snappy number that you can just pull out and use for any problem like you can for metric numbers. Easy and friendly, the metric system didn’t evolve over time as a haphazard form of keeping measurements, but it was made specifically for the purpose that it serves.
These are the two biggest reasons that the metric system should be adopted universally. If you make measurements universal then it eliminates a lot of confusion about weights and measurements, and that lubricates the wheels of commerce. The easier a system is to learn and memorize, the less likely you are to make mistakes with it. There is also the idea that the metric system is permanent, and there have been no additions or changes over the years. If you set the standard system of measurement aside you can stop filling up pages in textbooks and sections of your home improvement store using those measurements.
“Frequently Asked Questions About the Metric System,” by USMA at Colorado State
“Metrication: An Economic Wake-Up Call for US Industry,” by NIST at NIST