There is a deep and pervasive analogy between systems of commerce and systems of communication, turning on their near-universal use of symbola (images, media, proxies, signs, symbols, tokens, etc.) to stand for pragmata (objects, objective values, the things we really care about, or would really care about if we examined our values in practice thoroughly enough).
Both types of sign-using systems are prey to the same sort of dysfunction or functional disease — it sets in when their users confuse signs with objects so badly that signs become ends instead of means.
There is a vast literature on this topic, once you think to go looking for it. And it’s a perennial theme in fable and fiction.
cc: FB | Semeiotics