Why does America persist with imperial measurements?Why does America continue to use archaic and complex systems of measurement (farhenheit, pints, inches, quarts, pounds, feet etc). THEY ARE...

Why does America persist with imperial measurements?

Why does America continue to use archaic and complex systems of measurement (farhenheit, pints, inches, quarts, pounds, feet etc). THEY ARE LITERALLY MEDIEVAL!!!

There can be no doubt that the metric system is more clear, more simple, more usable, more understandable, more flexible, more holistic and altogether more TEACHABLE.

WHY do we refuse to change to a clearly better system?

Asked on by elfgirl

9 Answers | Add Yours

scarletpimpernel's profile pic

scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I think that some of it is arrogance on the U.S.'s part--an unwillingness to admit that our system is not the most logical one out there.  Additionally, businesses--including international companies--still cater to our silly measuring system by making automobiles and other items that are specific to our system.  Perhaps if they all stopped and Americans were forced to buy items with the metric system, we would see a change.

booksnmore's profile pic

booksnmore | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

This is a major source of frustration for me. I recently read that the U.S. is one of only 3 countries that use Customary units of measure...and the other 2 are iffy. When traveling, I noticed that Northern Vermont had both markers for speed limits (as you approached Canada.) I've been very frustrated with traveling in other countries because I feel so clueless! Funny story: as we were landing, our pilot said, "The local temperature is __ degree Celcius. I can convert that to Farenheit for you. No additional charge." I would have to agree that it probably comes down to the difficulty involved...and expense.

lynn30k's profile pic

lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

For pohnpei--yes, here in Missouri, the major markers are given in both.  For example, 100 miles (161 km) to St. Louis.

lrwilliams's profile pic

lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

The above posts are correct, I can remember along time ago, when I was a middle school student that the metric system would replace "our" system in the next 10 years. I t has been a lot longer than 10 years since I sat in a middles school classroom as a student! I would agree that most of it is tradition, I also think some of it could come from arrogance.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

When I was a kid, the push was made to start the changeover. In theory, we should have been there by now. but as pohnpei says, traditions take a long time to die out. It is happening, it is just slow. Volume/weight measurements on food products are given in both systems. Distance markers on highways are given in miles and kilometers. It is going to take people using the metric system in everyday language before the change really accelerates, in my opinion.

Are distance markers given in metric where you are?  They are not given in metric here in Washington...

lynn30k's profile pic

lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

When I was a kid, the push was made to start the changeover. In theory, we should have been there by now. but as pohnpei says, traditions take a long time to die out. It is happening, it is just slow. Volume/weight measurements on food products are given in both systems. Distance markers on highways are given in miles and kilometers. It is going to take people using the metric system in everyday language before the change really accelerates, in my opinion.

besure77's profile pic

besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

The metric system would make a lot more sense to use but it would be very hard to make the conversion when millions of people are used to what we use now. As a science teacher I totally agree with you but changing would cause so much confusion to so many people, it would be very difficult.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Three reasons:  Tradition.  Tradition.  Tradition.  Sure, it may be hard to teach, but by the time people are old enough to have a say in what system we have, they've already learned it and so it does not really bother them.

If the US were made up only of science teachers, we'd have changed by now (my mom would love it since she's a science teacher and complains of this a fair amount).  But most people don't really have to worry about how unwieldy the system is once they are old enough to care.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

I also sometimes feel puzzled by this question. The only reason I can think of for USA not changing over to the metric system of measurement, which is also now accepted as international system of measurement, is the inertia or resistance to change. Changing from the imperial system to the metric system does require substantial planning and effort. It also involves cost for the implementing agency, that is government. In addition, it also involves additional change over costs to the users, particularly the business and industry. The individual citizen is also likely to find it inconvenient in the short term because it requires change from the set habits and forming new habits. But if this changeoer has been accomplished long back an so many other countries, including in countries like India, which are supposed to be highly tradition bound, I am unable to figure out what is holding back USA.

We’ve answered 318,982 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question