In case you were wondering, things in the United States are not that bad off, despite what you read in the media. In fact, economic conditions have improved for Americans, with virtually every disadvantaged group making positive gains in the last decade, according to BusinessWeek: "Over the past decade, virtually every traditionally disadvantaged group made gains in absolute terms. Take, for example, families headed by immigrants who entered the country in the 1980s. The poverty rate for such families dropped sharply, from 26.6% in 1995 to 16.4% in 2003, the latest numbers available. Similarly, a combination of welfare reform and tight labor markets helped drive down the poverty rate for female-headed households with children from 46.1% in 1993 to 35.5% in 2003. That may not seem like much, but it beats the total lack of progress in the previous decade. And a new book, Moving Up or Moving On: Who Advances in the Low-Wage Labor Market?, uses a new set of data to look at the wage history of a group of low-earning workers from 1993 to 2001. Adjusted for inflation, those people saw their average earnings more than double over those nine years." One interesting nugget that is touched on only briefly in this article is globalization. The old method of evaluating how well off Americans by comparing our situation with others in the U.S. makes little sense in this era of globalization. Perhaps if nothing else, globalization will shake us Americans from the bad habit of looking only at our country and ignoring the rest of the world.