I don't think it's accurate to call the core set distribution either arbitrary or self-defeating.
a) Arbitrary: The core set distribution represents (in my opinion) an attempt at offering both a diversity of options with a consistency of play. So the core set decks contain 3x of "staple" cards (Sure Gamble, Diesel, Cyberfeeder, Easy Mark, etc) and 1x of cards which tended to have lower utility in multiples (over half of them are unique, so can't be played in multiples). This demonstrates a very intentional design towards creating an out-of-the-box experience, which you can critisize, but I don't think you can rightfully call it "arbitrary."
b) Self-Defeating: If the mark of "defeat" is poor sales, then this the Core Set is obviously not self-defeating. It's sold far better than they ever expected it to (judging by the Gencon rush). Of course, if you define "success" by "providing a complete playset in a box," then the Core Set is self-defeating, but I don't think that was FFG's criteria for success.
I was curious if you had any answers to the question in my previous post: is there another collectible/customizable card game that offers a complete playset in a box?