The world economic crisis should be seen as an episode in the history of money. “National capitalism” was the main way of organizing money in the twentieth century and its symbol was national monopoly currency. This system has been unravelling since the US dollar de-pegged from gold in 1971. The result is a disconnect between politics which are still largely national and the money circuit which is decentralized and global. The work of Georg Simmel and Karl Polanyi is enrolled to explain this development which entails the loss of money's physical substance, a shift in the social institutions supporting it and a break-up of the forms and functions of “all-purpose money”. The euro crisis reveals the historical mistake of treating market economy as a driver of society and politics. Good intentions at this stage will not reverse what has become a Greek tragedy in more senses than one.