I think a lot of issues (including the economy) that surface and the endless arguments that follow on the forums are due to a fundamental problem this game will seemingly always have: The 2 major player archetypes it tries to draw in simultaneously; Archetypes that have different ideas of fun and progression. What one player group deems fun and appropriate, the other sees as a major transgression and vice versa.
On the one end, you have the voxel builder / crafter player: Likes to experience content. Favors being a jack-of-all trades over alts. Not very grind tolerant, especially if it gates content. Likes to work on a variety of things in a play session. Appreciates trading and income but not at the expense of the diversity of their gameplay. Expects meaningful progress on the regular.
On the other end, you have the sandbox MMO player: Likes to be a specialist and feel like they have their own unique contribution to the game world. A cog in a well-oiled machine. Doing everything with a single character is unthinkable. Demands a vibrant and balanced economy, with proper sinks in place. Extra grind-tolerant if it means preserving a healthy economy and has more of a long-term outlook on things; Progress can happen over multiple play sessions.
I’m not saying one is better than the other, but i’ll tell you what… The devs are in a tough spot, especially with the current lowish population. Decide to strongly move the game in the direction of one archetype and you lose the other. Try to appeal to both (what it feels like they are doing now; can’t lose players) and you have the herculean task of striking the perfect balance or risk losing both over the long run. It’s tricky as hell.
Right now, the economy is slowly deteriorating because supply is out of control. Something has to be done to reintroduce scarcity, somehow. I’m in favor of ideas that feel less like a nerf like @Karrade 's suggestion of the higher tier planets not spawning all the lower tier planet stuff. There is very little incentive to visit planets. You basically alternate between your base and the highest tier you can operate at.
Alts were also mentioned as a cause and I agree. In the sandbox MMO archetype, which I lean towards, it’s bad… As of now, with only 2 (not 10!) level 50 skill sets, I can do literally everything in the game. That just doesn’t sit well with me. Yes, it feels powerful; it’s great fun… for about 30 minutes, the time it takes to realize I never need another player again… in an MMO.
I’m almost 100% checked out of the economy. The opportunity cost of finding baskets that aren’t empty and stands with enticing prices is too big. I’d rather just chuck it all in machines and mass craft away. I’ll need it eventually.
This being said, I’m hopeful T7 and temporary worlds will reinvigorate everything. I’m just hoping people can see that not gating content and allowing jack-of-all-trading leads to a more fragile economy and may eventually remove the need for trading/shopping entirely. Whether that leads to an overall more pleasant Boundless experience is entirely subjective. Time will tell.
I for one would like to see a healthy economy and am willing to make concessions for it to happen. My opinion.