This introductory article examines different approaches to conceptualizing economic security by drawing on the broader social science literature beyond realism/neorealism. Arguing that traditional conceptions of economic security that see economics as a source, or instrument of state power are insufficient, it draws on a growing literature that looks directly at the economic roots of conflicts, particularly those arising from the manner in which capitalist production is organized in distinct settings. While the paper identifies a range of ways in which scholars, policy practitioners and communities think about economic security depending on the particular circumstances different states and societies find themselves in, the paper, nonetheless, argues for a notion of economic security that also emphasizes issues of justice/fairness and distributive equity. Under conditions of globalization, it is important for us to think of the needs of those made insecure by prevailing systems of market governance but in ways that do not undermine the integrity of the market nor sanction protection for chronically uncompetitive firms. Drawing on insights from International Political Economy and Economic Sociology, the paper suggests one useful way of conceptualizing economic security under conditions of globalization: that of ensuring a low probability of damage to (a) the income and consumption streams that are deemed appropriate for individual well-being; (b) the income-generating potential of an economy; and (c) some minimal level of distributive equity. To this end, appropriately designed national, regional and global institutions can function as mechanisms of governance in the interests of economic security. The rest of the papers in this Special Issue provide empirical case studies drawn from East Asia on many of the points raised in this introduction.