For the merchants' deliberations, see here.
"...thought back to days when he had ridden ships through yonder spaces, bargaining in strange cities or strange wildernesses, or beneath unblue skies and in poisonous winds, for treasures Earth had not yet imagined. For a moment, wistfulness tugged at him. A long time now since he had been any further than the Moon ...poor aging fat man, chained to a single planet and cursed whenever he turned an honest credit." (p. 147)
We would like to read a "Young van Rijn" series. Sometimes, as with Flandry, we read about a character's later years after we have read about his earlier years. At other times, as with van Rijn, the earlier years are left to the imagination. Van Rijn has some similarities to Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot who started his private detective agency after he had retired from a position in the Belgian police. Thus, both series begin with an already aged central character.
Throughout history, the Moon has been unreachable and unattainable. In some sf, "no further than the Moon" means like our backyard.
We think that van Rijn's self-pity is an act even if he sometimes internalizes it. He does not give a damn about criticism of his profit-making. He goes on to think:
"...he could retire, but then what would there be to engage his energies?" (p. 147)
That is pathetic. There is plenty to do when you retire - unless you are so nose-to-the-grindstone that you forget everything else? Van Rijn will eventually lobby to hold the League together, then, we think, lead an expedition outside known space - a perfect use for his energies.