global: one, a media and state-created ﬁction (but with real, devastating effects);the other, likewise ﬁctional (as its contingency and shape changing attest), a com-mitted, ﬂedgling, decentered grassroots movement.
Some antiglobalization groups would be among the ﬁrst to recognize that if the twin towers (repeatedly invoked as, among other things, “symbols of Americancapitalism” in the aftermath of September 11) had been more disability-friendly,it would not change the fact that larger global trends are not. On the contrary, thismoment in the history of multinational, corporate capitalism is a bad one for mostpeople with disabilities. Neoliberalism, the philosophy driving the economic andcultural globalization that activists are ﬁghting, takes some principles as basictruths: privatization is a good thing; privatization of public services (which the“structural adjustment programs” [SAPs] of the World Bank and the IMF call for)can help countries cope with economic and social crises (speciﬁcally, with therepayment of massive debts); markets around the world should be opened up (toAmerican goods and corporations); and government or public regulation of thosemarkets should be minimized.
In many countries these policies have been disastrous: the privatization of health care, water, education, and electricity has had disproportionately negativeeffects on people with disabilities, people with HIV, women, people of color, theelderly, and poor people (groups that are, of course, not mutually exclusive). InMozambique, where the literacy rate is a little more than 30 percent and, due toinfectious diseases, the mortality rate for children before the age of ﬁve is 25 per-cent, and, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), people with dis-abilities make up one-tenth of the population, twice as much money goes to debtrepayment as to health care and education combined.
In some locations in ruralIndia, where land for rice is now used for export crops such as oranges andshrimp, activists claim that SAPs have driven the cost of “essential medicines” up600 percent, signiﬁcantly limiting access to health care for Indian women, in par-ticular.
One of the IMF’s loan requirements in Argentina has been that pensionsand programs for elderly people, many of whom are disabled, be drastically cut oreliminated.
These processes have often had disastrous environmental conse-quences, which in turn have had negative repercussions for people with HIV andpeople with disabilities, as contaminated drinking water and polluted air impactthem ﬁrst and hardest.
U.S. militarism has consistently accommodated neoliber-alism’s globalizing reach and itself functioned as another, relatively autonomousglobalizing force, most recently in the war in Afghanistan. If indeed the UnitedStates has emerged “strong” and united in the wake of September 11, the disabil-