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Patrick Bond wrote: David's just replied to the latest version of the critique by John Smith, published recently in the Review of African Political Economy:

I’m not convinced. Harvey claims that Smith’s GPS is cockeyed and that is wrong to interpret the reversal of the East-to-West drain as the same as South-to-North. He says that for him the East means the block consisting of Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. And he says that “wealth has moved from West to East.”

It is of course true that this East has grown much wealthier, and has gained relatively in comparison to the rest of the world. But that is not exactly what he said in his commentary that Smith quoted and in previous works – namely, that the "flow of value" had shifted and has largely been reversed, so that the East is now "draining" value from the West. There is a difference between the amount of wealth in a region and which way the wealth flows.

Moreover, as to East vs South, in a 2009 article on Socialist Project (and the next year in The Enigma of Capital), Harvey wrote that this unprecedented shift "has reversed the long-standing drain of wealth from East, Southeast and South Asia to Europe and North America that had been occurring since the eighteenth century." Here, with Southeast and South Asia included, it appears that the reverse drain now goes not just to China, Japan and the "Tigers" but also to poorer countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Harvey supplies no figures, but I think it hard to believe that the new wealth in Harvey's East is derived from draining value from the West. (All the harder to believe this of Cambodia and Bangladesh!) Where, for example, does China's growth and wealth come from? Above all, from the super-exploitation of hundreds of millions of *Chinese* workers, many of them migrants driven economically out of their rural homes to the cities where they live and labor under miserable conditions (remember the Foxconn suicides) with wages one-tenth or less of those in the West.

Yes, China and Japan own lots of US debt. But the rate of return they get on it is close to zero, as Larry Summers has gloated. More generally, China's overseas investment income has been in the red for years.

It is an extremely dubious proposition that the flows of centuries have reversed direction and that the East in Harvey’s terms is draining value from the West – and even more dubious that, as he implied previously, that the South is draining value from the North. I can believe that the East, like the West, is draining value from the South. But that is not what Harvey’s GPS tells us.

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