I can buy a starship from anywhere, but if I want a t-shirt, I have to be in a specific place.
Some of these are split up- can take market orders from station, but have to complete on ship with goods in ship cargo
Autofactory can be started from ship, but goods have to be in station/planet cargo
Trade skills- high entry cost, low/no ongoing cost. Goods appear magically and have no material requirements.
Unlike some people, I find plenty of mark sinks. Between promo items, ships, rejuv and etc, Poet is almost always broke.
There is a huge disparity in marks generation. Incursions are number one, once you can do the hard ones. There is, at least, a marks cost involved in purchasing ammo and repair kits. As compared with the second best method, ground bashing. Essentially costs you nothing, and nets you 10's of thousands of marks/hour.
Both these activities are reasonably fun (for me). I know some people hate bashing, but I don't mind. Incursions are better, in that there is more effort involved in getting to range and lining up the targets.
Hacking I don't care for, and know little about. Seems mark generation is fairly low, considering the consequences (bounties).
The 'actual' economic activities are all a loss. Having done them all, none of them make money. There is a ton of effort involved, and the upfront costs in getting set up are high. I have another thread on this, and my thoughts haven't changed.
-I will also note that there are Honors available for those who own 10 factories/refineries and that no one can do that anymore, as the cap is 9.
Materials need to be required for everything. I hate saying that, cause I like being able to make clothes out of thin air, but seriously. There should be crates of fabric that need to be bought and shipped about. Gems and metal for jewelry, etc. Right now, ship supplies exist in their own little world, and given the existence of the ship forge, there can never be a shortage of anything. You might pay more, but things are available if people put in the work, or not. The only reason to engage with the economy is to be nice to the new players, or to use the comms for guards and station stuff, that most people probably don't know exists. I would not recommend using comms for more of this kind of thing as a stop-gap, and in fact having to track it to keep the guards paid is really quite annoying. I can see using them to buy station upgrades, but just dumping them into ongoing maintenance is also annoying.
The other problem with this economy set up, is that only the fighting tasks generate any reasonable pay, and XP gains. The thought being, apparently, that things that involve 'risk' are the only valid ways to make money. The economy cannot work this way. There has to be a way to make money doing 'economy' things. Like hauling in rocks and gas. And it needs to earn reasonable XP. Maybe not quite as much of each as incursions, but enough that people are willing to invest time and effort into it.
Materials also need rarity adjustments. There need to be cheap, commonly used materials that are super easy to find in large quantity. Rare stuff that's expensive, and hard to find- but which you don't need much of in the recipes. Right now, as Holgorath pointed out, this is backwards. Iriil, which is supposedly rare, is required in huge quantities, and it appears to spawn at exactly the same rate as every other material. Everyone wants it, and everyone needs it, and no one can find enough. Everyone is paying 100 marks/unit or more trying to get some, without any luck cause even at that rate, people aren't interested in mining it. Also, at that rate, all the batteries on the market are sold at a loss, cause that price was set based on Iriil being worth about 40/unit.
Yields are also far too small. As it stands you cannot refine enough material to be able to sell large quantities of things cheaply and make it worth your time and effort. Holgorath indicated mining for 8-12 hours and making 80k marks, and I think that number is wildly optimistic. Even if correct, you can do the same thing in an hour in an incursion. Also, the quantity limits mean you can't refine enough stuff to be able to sell at a price that makes the finished goods affordable. If we paid what materials were reasonably worth given time and effort invested, batteries would go for 2500 marks apiece, and incursions would stop being profitable (and Ship Forge exists, so you can't ever charge more than 450/per)
People need to be able to move cargo from place to place for others. Give the freighters and haulers reason to exist. (And shrink the cargo bay on the Battleship, cause it's bigger than a freighter).
The cargo boost modules are much, much too small.
Drone bay module is good, but dedicated mining ships would be better.
Specializations probably also need to go. I know why the limits on ownership were put in, but we can't keep a full complement of refineries and factories, cause not enough people are interested, and then they freeze and we are short facilities again.
Refining straight up needs to go. Charging miners for bringing in materials is a slap in the face. Scoop the gas into the hold, and then just sell it. Yet another reason to upgrade to a bigger ship with a bigger hold.
It would also be nice if there were a way to easily see how much space in the hold a material was going to take.
Tl;dr Too many economic systems that are not connected to each other in any fashion. If I can walk in a circle and spam freeze and make 10k an hour, I should be able to make at least half that amount scooping gas.