In fact, I'd go so far as to say it does for Economics and History what Mythbusters did for Science.
Rick's insistence that he's a businessman and needs to make a profit could be repetitive and annoying. But instead it grounds the show in pointing out the limits of reality, no matter what the age, rarity, or cool factor of the macguffin of the moment is. It's interesting without being harsh or ugly. It's not mundane and boring like a trip to get groceries, but it doesn't have the desperation of a payday loan or something of that nature. It's a neat thing for currency exchange every time, and the audience gets to see the neat thing no matter how the deal goes or even if it happens.
The fact that their guest experts all look like they were doing a panel at a Steampunk con when Rick gave them the call just adds to the fun.