It always amuses me when people throw around words like “extortion” and “racketeering” in regards to the mining permits. It implies that agents are selling permits for the purpose of making profit, which is just silly. 10m ISK is peanuts, and even if they sell 100 permits, that’s still peanuts considering the work involved. The permit is just a contract between the client and the agent; one that stipulates the client will read and follow The Code, and in return the agent may offer advice on how to remain Code Compliant through suggestions for ships/fits, etc.
Even newbies should be able to afford permits. I’ve known newbies that have made hundreds of millions of ISK on their first day in-game, just from chatting with people and being sociable.
Anyone who believes that permit sales are part of some elaborate cash grab are thinking with a one-dimensional, psuedo-Ferengi, carebear mind. There’s more to EVE than profit.