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The world and the metric system

Adoption of the metric system as the sole method of measurement has grown signficantly around the globe. Some 96 % of the world's people live in countries that are entirely metric or nearly so. Those people live their daily lives and conduct their business entirely in metric units. They buy their food, converse, work, and play using only metric units. Most of them are unfamiliar with U.S. customary units of measure. There is no significant country in the world left to be metricated except the United States.

Virtually all countries now require commerce to be conducted solely in units of the International System of units (SI), sometimes known as the "modern metric system". Some permit "supplementary indications" on products to be stated in non-metric units. But some, such as Australia and Japan, do not. Until recently, the European Union had a directive in effect that would have banned non-metric units to be used in imported goods after 2009. This has been eased enough to allow non-metric supplemenatary indications but metric units must predomininate in the markings on packages, products, directions, advertisements, etc.

Today's modern metric system is called the SI, which is a symbol standing for the the International System of units. It is incredibly simple and fully defined in fewer than 2 dozen pages. There are only 7 named base units and another 22 named derived units. Contrast this with the more than 2000 U.S. customary units! But the price of that simplicity and the price for ensuring universal comprehension is that the rules for its use are rigid. One cannot afford to merely "come close" to the rules for writing metric values. Fortunately, floor workers can learn all they need to know in just a couple of hours and management workers can learn all they need to know in 1 day or less.

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