What Are the Disadvantages of the Metric System?

Disadvantages of the metric system include the difficulty of United States citizens learning the new system, businesses being out the expense to redesign products and equipment to metric standards and the expense associated with revising road signs. Detractors of the metric system prefer English measures of halves and quarters instead.

Arguments against metrication in the U.S. include the argument by the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, an organization that sued to block metrication. The organization claimed that the West was won using not metric measurements but by inches, feet, yards and miles. It was once suggested in the 1970s that road signs written using the metric system would help Russians with an invasion.

The French devised the metric system in the late 17th century as a means for combating fraud among shopkeepers and farmers. France adopted the system in the early 1800s and it quickly spread around the globe in the century that followed. The United States, Liberia and Myanmar are the only three countries in the world that do not use it.

However, the U.S. does officially use the metric system. The system was adopted in 1975 as the preferred measurement system, but it never really caught on. Some large agencies with scientific or international operations use the system, but the English measurement system is more common throughout the country, with the exception of the labeling of liquor bottles.