Just thinking about the change that was made to explo cap to try something different. We all pretty much agree it was a mess, but the intentions were interesting.
How about trying something different again, with a view to balancing the scales a bit.
Have the explo caps for each fam inversely proportional from top to bottom. (Perhaps NW based in comparison with the average NW of the galaxy)
So smaller fams have a larger cap, to stop them suffering lost explos to cap, giving them some sort of a chance at catch-up, while reigning back the fams with the largest eco?