I prefer mining industry to space piracy. You get a brown die/planet (which for synergy works well for consumption). Selling from a brown world is worth $4 and takes 2 dice (same as exploring/stocking 2 dice but it takes an extra phase). I would much rather consume from cyan and brown worlds, so the extra income for doing this makes it a nice bonus to me. If you can get a purple or brown die from a planet or technology then that is 3 vp + $1.
The starting faction that I think is terrible is Space Piracy. You get a red die with a grey world and your technology gives you $1 for every 2 red dice in your citizenry at the end of shipping (which you have no incentive to choose as you don't have a world to ship from to start the game unless you have a non-gray homeworld).