I read quite a lot. In the first twelve months of owning my Kindle I read 103 books. Mind you, I was commuting daily and sitting on a train for over two hours a day. I don’t read that many books these days, but I still get through a fair few. And so it is that I cannot now recall which author it was I was reading who coined the term ‘barbarian’ in the context that I now regularly use it.
In this context a barbarian is someone whose very existence is defined by money and power, nothing is of greater importance. For such people money, money, money and much more, much, much more of it and power, extreme power, are all that matters. It is these barbarians who exploit the weak or vulnerable, keeping them in slavery or paying them a fraction of the minimum wage, while housing them in squalid accommodation and charging them exorbitant rent for the privilege of living there.
These are the barbarians who willingly desecrate the environment with toxic waste and refuse, rather than spend any of their precious money to dispose of it in a properly managed process. These are the people whose vested interests take primacy over the natural environment and the health and well-being of humanity. Some we condemn as criminals; those who sell dangerous illicit drugs, or launder money for terrorists and crime syndicates, or the crime syndicates themselves. Others we grumble about but tolerate, such as the tobacco companies, the purveyors of slick investment vehicles that seem all too frequently to turn out dodgy, and companies that run retirement homes and ruthlessly exploit their vulnerable, elderly investors.
There are yet others whom we not only tolerate but lionize. These are the mega rich multi-nationals whose power is so great they hold national governments in thrall. It is, for example, incomprehensible to me that a company that has been thoroughly exposed for dishonest dealings, lying about environmental management outcomes, and lying, quite blatantly, about the number of jobs their proposed coal-mine-to-end-all-coal-mines will provide, can be not only welcomed by the Australian government, but also have their palms crossed by the best part of a billion dollars worth of silver, to entice them to come and destroy our environment.
As I said at the top: The barbarians are in control!