But touting the “return” of imperial units to shops is just disastrously retrograde. The logistical burden it would place on supermarkets could lead to increased prices at a time when many household budgets are already stretched thin, while polls show that younger generations are increasingly happy with metric measures. By kindling this debate, Johnson and the Conservative party have certainly keyed in to an emotive and overlooked aspect of our history. But the return of imperial measures is simply unfathomable.
It is optional. It gives us that thing that market choice always does give us – greater utility. Those that don’t care don’t care, those that do, either way, get to have their preference seen to. Utility is always personally defined, so now more people get to have their utility increased – we are richer as a result.
Simply the freedom to use one or the other, Imperial or metric, is wealth enhancing.
Now, there is still that place for weights and measures and all that. A claim that 1 kg does mean that it has to be 1 kg, that of a lb that it is a lb. There’s still that role for defining what kg, lb, fathom and furlong actually are. But who should use what, why and when, that’s not in fact something that needs to be determined by the state in the first place.