I’m seeing at least 2 other unforeseen downstream effects as well that lead to a more difficult early game. 1) Not clearing the barb camp means fewer era score points. That can be 3-9 points making even a normal classical that much more difficult to get. 2) If you bribe them and don’t clear them (as @Eagle Pursuit mentioned, you are quite poor. Is it worth not clearing them early on? Too soon to tell.