I think it's as wes said, the threat of pirates early game is going to be quite substantial. It is going to take a while for organizations to get a hold on how to protect their convoys, and with players going in all different directions it is going to be very difficult to get anything meaningful from the chaos.
Also, the merchants and starfarers are the definition of space cows. At the moment we don't know what it will take to protect them, and IF anyone is going to be that interested in protecting large vulnerable ships. I would consider it a huge investment risk to purchase one at this point. It would be a shame if one spent all that money on a ship that they can't even use for 6 months because of how often they get blown up (and yes, insurance will cover that... but you have to suck up the loss of cargo and that gets expensive!)
On that end, i think the Retaliators and Connies might prove their worth: they got enough guns to discourage the casual attacker.