Re: Page size


As an aside…


Treaties with the United States have to be officially ratified before they become law. Neither an ambassador, nor President, no matter their intention, can by themselves give a treaty the force of law. There are quite a number of them, including practically every UN treaty signed by the US. Lots of people make the mistake of thinking that if a treaty is signed by a President or Ambassador, even if the treaty was authored by a the US and proposed to the UN security council of the United Nations by the US that it has the force of law in the United States. It usually doesn’t. Individual appointed or elected people simply don’t have that authority. So anyone in the US worried about UN resolutions being used to, for example to take away their guns, have very little to worry about. International law by treaty, as a rule of thumb, simply doesn’t apply here unless the treaty is actually passed the formal treaty ratification process under the US Constitution, which is rare.


The Treaty of the Meter (or Metre Convention) was apparently never ratified and therefore carries no force of law. I suspect the reasons that the US hasn’t adopted A4 paper are complex, but involve a few key issues that I can think of starting with:


The distance of a meter is just as arbitrarily chosen as the definition of a foot or mile. Historically, the meter was originally defined as one ten-millionth the distance from the north pole to the equator. That distance is dependent on exactly which North Pole you measure from and to where on the equator you measure it. And though this has been better defined since then, the discussion had already ended and there was no reason why US citizens would prefer one arbitrary measurement system over another. Now it’s 1/299,792,458 of the distance travelled at the speed of light for one second in a vacuum. Clearly chosen as a number close to the actual mean distance which is the basis of the system. But since then the international definition of a length of a time a second is was changed; therefore affecting the length of a meter again. No matter how you define a meter, it’s still an arbitrary measurement system.


1) US citizens tend to take offense at perceived arbitrary government laws (especially international ones) as a violation of the free market and a kind of totalitarianism, no matter how well intentioned.


2) There is no (internal to the US) market advantage to change. On the contrary there is a big market disadvantage of added competition if they have to compete with international suppliers and no demand side reason from citizens wanting A4 paper or metric lengths or weights of lumber or metals.


3) There is no government issued fines for any business or person NOT using metric to compel the citizens to change. (See #1 above).


4) Any such treaty like the Treaty of the Meter becoming force of law in the US might actually be impossible to ratify without a US Constitutional Amendment due to limits of the Commerce Clause and the fact that such a treaty would be in effect a restraint of trade between the various states, giving an arbitrary advantage to one or more states and a disadvantage to others.


I suspect that the only way it could change here would be for enough individual states to pass laws giving incentives to change to metric. When enough of the states and population have changed and it becomes ubiquitous it would bypassing the US constitutional argument and permit a federal law to officially legislate the change for the benefit of the country and force the few remaining states into compliance. But I don’t see that happening in my lifetime (optimistically another 50 years).





From: <> On Behalf Of Paul Grosse via Groups.Io
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2019 6:06 AM
Subject: Re: [pcgen] Page size


Yea and the US's official measurement system is Metric, but try telling that to the private industry that doesn't have to deal with government work. Carter and the Congress should have shoved it through and forced industry to change instead of making it voluntary.


Also I have strong feelings about this. :)


Paul A. Grosse



On Thursday, January 3, 2019, 8:02:07 AM EST, Andrew W <andrew@...> wrote:



The ISO standard paper size has been officially adopted in every country in the world except Canada and the US.


In Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, and the Philippines, the US letter format is still in common use, despite their official adoption of the ISO standard.



  Andrew Wilson




On Thu, 3 Jan 2019, at 9:24 AM, Terry Jordan wrote:

G'day Happy New Year,

 Some  silly people live down under (Australia) and we use A4 paper.  Yes its based upon the metric metre.




--Paul Grosse
--PCGen BoD, PR Silverback

Join to automatically receive all group messages.