The market economy, based on deep human psychological propensities, is an extraordinarily effective societal instrumentality for planning and coordinating the production and distribution of scarce, rival, excludable commodities.
I also played through Beyond Good and Evil again not so long ago.
If you like Beyond Good & Evil, you should try Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, which was ported to Windows in October. I really enjoyed both.
The cost of living hasn't affected its popularity.