Boris Johnson is expected to say the UK government is considering reviving the use of Imperial measures to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Since 20002, when the EU Weights and Measures Directive came into force, traders have been legally required to use metric units when selling fresh produce by weight or measure. Most of the world uses the metric system (kilograms, liters, meters, etc.) while a few places – the United States, Myanmar and Liberia – still cling to the old imperial system (fluid ounces, gallons , feet, inches, etc.). However, we still have the imperial system built into our language (stallion, tons of work, etc.).
There are very good reasons why most people use the metric system – because it’s a much more logical system. Let’s take a look at the ways the metric system simply makes more sense than the imperial system. You can get more news like this and other story updates by subscribing to our newsletters here.
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Everything in the metric system is based on powers of 10. Take measurements of water. A liter is made up of 1,000 milliliters. one centiliter equals 10 milliliters. and one kiloliter equals 1,000 liters. This naming system is the same regardless of the type of measurement, be it area, distance, etc.
Imperial, on the other hand, feels like it was written by a drunk contestant on The Apprentice. It uses different number systems (base 3, 8, 12, 14, 16, etc.). Thus, a bushel equals four peaks, a peak equals two gallons, a gallon equals four pints, a quart equals two pints, a pint equals four gills, a gill equals five fluid ounces, a fluid ounce equals eight fluid drams, and so on. . We haven’t even reached the distance that includes acres and stadiums.
There is not even consistency between countries that use the imperial system, with US imperial measurements being different from UK ones. For example, a British gallon is equal to 4.546 liters while in the United States it is only 3.785. The Iceland boss said shoppers put items back on the shelves when they hit £40 at checkout – you can read more about that here.
The Imperial system was based on things that are simply no longer relevant to our lives (or in some cases anyone’s life). A meter was originally the length of a man’s belt or belt, as it was called. In the 12th century, King Henry I of England fixed the yard as the distance between his nose and the thumb of his outstretched arm. How was the distance of a furrow determined? The furlong (ie the length of the furrow) was the distance a team of oxen could travel without resting.
In contrast, one kilogram is roughly equal (it was originally supposed to be exactly equal) to the mass of 1000 cc of water. and 1000 cm3 of water correspond exactly to one litre. This means that if you have eight liters of water in your backpack, it will add eight kilos. It’s a system that makes sense to the world around us.
This makes it easy for children to pick up the system.
Easy to use
Besides being easy to remember, the metric system is also easier to use in practice. It’s very easy for people working in science, but also for people who go about their daily lives. Percentages are super easy to calculate when everything is based on the number 10. Imagine you weigh 80 kg and you want to calculate what 10% of your body weight is. Eight kilos right? Now imagine you weigh the same but make it in stone. What is 10% of 12.6 stone?
Under Metric, simple calculations such as floor space, energy consumption and volumes are easy. But under imperial they are too complicated for no good reason.
Having both systems makes it difficult for people to make informed decisions
The imperial system is still used in the UK in many areas of our lives. We still use it for milk for example (pints). The problem is that all nutritional information such as calories are per 100ml. This makes it difficult for people to convert (which is tricky with imperial measurements because, as we discussed, they are complicated).
Most places use the metric
Trading using the same measures facilitates trade, which increases productivity. When people from different countries use standard weights and measures, it simplifies business. If we really want to create a global Britain after Brexit, it makes sense to have a system that matches our trading partners.