Manufacturers are not responsible for misuse of their products
It may not necessarily be the threat of lawsuits either. A company's reputation and goodwill can be significantly damaged if they come under a sustained PR attack. Hence, good corporate responsibility policies ensure that the likelihood (and the extent of the damage) is mitigated.
Furthermore, in many jurisdictions, the law imposes a duty on corporations to warn (and limit in some cases) the risk of damage to a consumer's wellbeing from consuming a product. A clear example of this would be tobacco packaging laws. So it is wrong to say as a general principle that corporations should simply let the consumer decide what is best for them (because in some circumstances, they really don't know what's best).
To be clear, I am not for one moment suggesting that you can fully justify the current Surplus system as some kind of insurance policy to defend against hypothetical media attacks.
But in other ways, I'm sure many people feel it is SE's job to rein in the RMT activity which was rampant in FFXI. Therefore, if this system will also mitigate and prevent that risk, I think it's fair to say that you shouldn't throw away the idea wholesale on the basis that you believe it impinges upon your personal freedoms and liberties.
For example, in the real world, we often accept our politicians introducing draconian laws which are designed to protect us from harm. This could be viewed as one case where you accept a curtail of your freedom in order to safeguard your wellbeing (although again, like Elmer foreshadowed, there are probably many competing reasons why such a system was designed).
As I have said before, we should all wait to see how this System will evolve during the leadup to release, and if it needs further adjustment during release, then we provide additional feedback. A modified form of this system could result in a very enjoyable environment for the majority of players - we don't know this yet.