Ill give an example: When the game started, it was economically feasable to make ship upgrades. However, because the NPCs drop upgrades, the economic feasability to not only produce them, but to sell them, is no longer there. Its just cheaper and easier to use loot drops than to gather the materials and use your labor to make an upgrade that NPCs will drop eventually.
Bad example, as general upgrades have been intended from the beginning to have their profit compromised by loot drops and quest rewards.
I still don't think this is going to happen very much, or for very long, because of the logistics involved in getting everyone together every 1-3 days. It certainly won't happen enough to affect the economy.