Economic Security

The concept of security has moved from being a purely military issue to being a comprehensive societal issue related to the ability of states and societies to implement developmental, economic, social, political and cultural plans and programs, and to strengthen their self-construction. In this context, Robert McNamara, the former US Secretary of Defense and former President of the World Bank, says in his book entitled “The Essence of Security”: “Security is not military equipment even if it includes it, not military force if it does include it, and not military activity even if it does include it. Security is development, without development there is no security, and countries that do not grow simply cannot remain safe. ”

Economic security is part of an integrated security system included in the concept of human security, which is intended to be free from fear and need, or in other words, to secure the life of society from poverty, hunger and disease, to provide for the needs of people and to help them protect themselves from the dangers they may face.

The concept of economic security

Defining security

In the past, the concept of security was confined to a narrow scope and became interpreted as security of the earth from external aggression, but today, with the emergence of the phenomenon of globalization, security has come to include security of the earth and the security of society from the dangers that may threaten it from the outside, in addition to the security of people’s lives from threats of poverty, Disease, or ignorance. Therefore, the concept of security should be viewed as a comprehensive concept for all political, social, economic, cultural and environmental dimensions … etc.

Security in the Arabic language : is against fear, which is an unwillingness of expectation in the coming time, and its origin is reassurance of the soul and the elimination of fear .

Security is defined as: “the ability of society and its systemic framework, the state, to face all internal and external threats, leading to the preservation of its identity, its identity, its territory, its resources, its cohesion, its development, and its freedom of will.

However, the concept of security in its ethnological scientific framework, especially in the circle of its use in international relations, lacks a comprehensive and unified agreed definition, as through the previous definition it is not related to a specific case of an elite, ethnic, linguistic or religious group or group that controls decision-making and reflects its own vision. Rather, it relates to the entire society whose formal framework is the state and through which society practices this concept, and then it requires the cooperation of all society and reflects the common perception of the sources of danger, their nature and objectives, and aims to preserve the community entity, its cohesion, development and freedom of will. So, security is a human value that merges with the values ​​of freedom, order and solidarity.

But the modern meaning of security as a “characteristic” of the state guaranteed by military and diplomatic means came as a result of the inference about the nature of the social contract that represented the state with individuals. The theory of the social contract was understood by Rousseau as it was also by Locke and Montesquieu as a result of individuals’ passion for security and freedom. 

Definition of economic security 

The term “economic security” lacks a clearly agreed definition, as do many terms in the field of security studies. It can be viewed at the individual and state level. With regard to the first, economic security basically implies the meaning of being free from poverty, but it is generally seen as going beyond that to include possessing sufficient economic resources to participate in society with dignity, and also to enjoy protection from future fluctuations and dangers, and economic security may include aspects such as job security ( In other words, some form of legal protection from unfair dismissal), income security (such as a minimum wage), and unemployment insurance.

As for the state level, economic security implies doubling the relative economic strength of the state. First, on the grounds that economic strength is required in and of itself. Second, national power, including military power, ultimately depends on economic strength.

Economic security also means reducing a country’s vulnerability to external economic shocks, along with the use of economic weapons such as economic sanctions. This means that economic security can be defined as “security of supplies”, such as obtaining safe and secure supplies of weapons, energy and basic raw materials such as oil, gas and minerals. Economic security in this context is linked to energy security. 

The United Nations tried to find a general meaning that explains this concept, and concluded the following: “Economic security is that a person has the material means that enable him to lead a stable and fulfilling life. For many, economic security is simply about having enough cash to satisfy their basic needs, such as food, adequate shelter, basic health care, and education. ”

There are those who defined economic security as meaning development. As the two phenomena of economic security and development are interconnected in a way that it is difficult to distinguish between them, so the more development progresses, security advances, and the more society organizes its economic affairs to provide itself with what it needs, the degree of its resistance to external threats will increase significantly. Development – as it is known – is a complex concept; It is a process and it is not a state and a continuous growth trend, nor an emergency situation. It is also a mechanism, in addition to being a means to achieve interim goals within the framework of human and civilized goals with societal dimensions.

Another definition: It is confidence in the possibility of production and distribution in a fair and unimpeded manner. 

In general, definitions of economic security are based on three basic points: 

Economic security expresses the absence of the threat of severe deprivation of economic well-being (the limiting factor is well-being)

Economic security means development (the determining factor is development).

Economic security is embodied in a person’s possession of the material means that enable him to lead a stable and fulfilling life (the limiting factor is well-being).

We must realize that economic security is only part of human security, along with food security and health security, environmental security, personal security, social security and political security, and this is according to what was stated in the United Nations Development Program in its 1994 report.

Economic security from an Islamic perspective 

If we try to deduce the concept of economic security from the Noble Qur’an, then we find that the Qur’an has contrasted security with the essential human needs calling for stability – such as eating and drinking – on the grounds that these needs do not come without security to ensure their continued arrival, and to ensure the continuation of stability. The word (security) and its derivatives were mentioned in the Qur’an in seventy places, all of which mean peace and not fear, and the repetition of the word security with its derivatives in the Qur’an indicates that security is an essential thing in human life and without it a stable and sustainable society cannot be imagined. Because it is through it that a person can obtain his basic needs, such as food, drink, clothing, housing and other needs, which increase and vary with the availability of security and stability in society. That is why the Almighty said, grateful to the Quraysh for the blessing of security for stealing their trade on the winter and summer journey, and security from running out of food necessities that prevent stability: “To spare  Quraysh Social and political security; Two correlates, one complementing the other, so there is no economic stability without political and social stability, and vice versa.

If we look at the prophetic texts in this regard, then we pause when he said: may God bless him and grant him peace: “ Whoever among you becomes safe in his flock, healthy in his body, he has sustenance for his day, as if the world has become for him .” This is one of the origins of the Prophet, and whoever collects and declares it in the chapter on original needs. And what is the indication and categorical argument for the need to secure the human rights of the individual and society. And the meaning: Who among you, O believers, has become safe, meaning: not afraid of an enemy in his flock by breaking the Seine, meaning: in himself, and narrated by opening it, that is, in his path and his path, and it was said with two openings, that is: in his house, and it was said: The group swarm, so the meaning: in his family His dependents, and healthy in his body, meaning: healthy in his body, outwardly and inwardly safe from illness and sickness, and he has sustenance for his day i.e .: the sufficiency of his strength from the face of the permissible, (his beginning and his supper) as if it was possible for him He also noted: How did the hadith enumerate three types of security, namely: personal security by providing security in the soul, housing and the road, health security by providing treatment and medication (the right to health care and physical and psychological health), food security (the right to food) and the need to secure it for people.

Science of Economic Security 

The science of economic security is still an emerging science, which lacks many theoretical and applied frameworks, but it has been noticed in the recent period that many works (on the governmental and academic levels) that highlight the importance of the security dimension of economic thinking. It has been observed, for example, the emergence of specializations and research centers concerned with economic intelligence, as well as the emergence of what is known as industrial or commercial espionage – and the need for these specializations has increased due to two main phenomena that have characterized the last two decades, namely globalization and the information boom.

But the science of economic security is not limited to this narrow concept, as this science can address a very wide range of issues, such as: monitoring financial flows, monitoring foreign investments, setting up means and mechanisms to ensure the protection of national industries, especially if they are vital and / or emerging. Food security and self-sufficiency in many areas, as well as the fight against industrial and commercial espionage and cybercrime, etc.

Basic needs theories and their interpretation of economic security 

There are a number of theories that talked about the relationship of economic security to the basic needs of the human being, which is known as the theories of basic needs, which are represented in Maslow’s theory, Morry’s theory, and Herzburg’s theory. Maslow’s theory indicated that the basic needs of the human being are in the form of a pyramid that starts from the bottom up, except that few people reach the top of the pyramid. In Maslow’s view, a person begins with the satisfaction of natural needs, then security needs, which are followed by social needs, then psychological needs, and finally self-realization. . According to Maslow’s theory, the satisfaction of the security needs of the human being comes second in importance. 

Morey’s theory also referred to the basic needs of the human being from the perspective of the basic motives that move the human being and identified them in a number of motives: hunger, sex and curiosity. Thus, the theory tried to link the effects of economic and social insecurity and its causes. As for the Herzburg theory, it indicated the importance of the basic needs of the human being, which are represented in water, air and food, and he believes that these needs are what motivate a person to show a certain behavior, and it can be said that the lack of water, food and air can lead to economic and social instability for the human community. 

Components of economic security 

– Food security: Food security  is considered one of the most important elements of economic security, and it can be defined as “the ability of society to provide the necessary level of food for its members within the limits of their available income, while ensuring the subsistence level of food for individuals who cannot obtain it with their available income, whether this is about The route of local production, or import, depending on personal resources. As one of the most important elements of life preservation, food is seen as a social and political dimension as one of the human rights. Achieving food security reflects the ability of society to guarantee the right to food for every citizen, and in particular the subsistence limit for each of its members, so that his life continues in a healthy and active manner. As for the lack of a subsistence level of food in the community, and the failure to achieve fair distribution among its members, this must contribute to the lack of social stability within the state.

–  Health security : Health security means providing means of prevention and treatment of diseases and epidemics. Health is closely related to achieving the economic security of society, as a society that is free of diseases enjoys the activity and strength of its people, which enables it to produce, work and achieve appropriate economic growth rates, while the opposite happens in a society that is dominated by diseases and epidemics. Therefore, countries try to combat dangerous diseases, such as AIDS, swine and bird flu, and even diseases that afflict animals, (Rift Valley fever, mad cow disease, and others) to protect their economy and their citizens. Health security is mainly based on providing primary health care programs and health insurance services for citizens Providing life-saving medicines, developing and increasing health institutions, such as hospitals, health centers, health counseling centers, and health education centers, as well as giving the health of vulnerable groups, such as children, women, the disabled, the elderly, etc.

–  Solidarity security or social and health insurance: It  is that policy that aims to provide social protection for workers in state and society institutions by following a system of deducting part of the salaries of workers and depositing them in a specific fund in accordance with well-known laws and regulations, to grant them compensation in cases of leaving work or dismissal from service. Or reaching retirement age, disability, illness or death. This system is known as social insurance or after-service benefits, which is mainly based on harnessing solidarity operations among the workers’ sector, to provide protection and social security for them. As for health solidarity, it is a solidarity system between citizens and the state, whereby the participant pays – depending on his income – a limited monthly contribution so that he and his family members enjoy integrated medical services, regardless of the size of the family and the size of the services required, which include free examination and examination, and medicine at a nominal cost.

– Environmental security:  aims to protect nature from sabotage in the short and long terms, in order to prevent the deterioration of the environment with its repercussions on states and individuals. The lack of access to clean water is one of the most important threats that industrialized countries face, and it can be considered that air pollution, global warming caused by greenhouses, factories, waste treatment problems and others are among the most important threats to the environment and the individual’s life.

–  the fight against poverty:   The fight against poverty is one of the most important components of economic security. Poverty is the greatest threat to contemporary societies. With the spread of the poor in society, disease and malnutrition are widespread, crimes and thefts abound, and dissatisfaction is exacerbated, which causes political, economic and security instability. Therefore, anti-poverty projects and their efficiency in intervention are seen as a fundamental factor in achieving economic security, but rather overall security in society.

–  Work:   The work is an important source in the satisfaction of basic human needs and transform the individual from the state of poverty, hunger and fear, to a state of social and economic stability. It is also the effective means and entrance to achieving economic strength and security. Therefore, a society in which high rates of unemployment and the economically inactive are seen as a poor, unproductive, undeveloped, or backward society, which establishes a state of social instability and vice versa. 

– Social policies:   The multiple social welfare policies that target social development, raise living standards for families and communities, protect vulnerable groups, combat poverty, and others, constitute one of the dimensions of achieving economic security. These policies include, in particular, programs and projects with microfinance, productive family programs, graduate employment, youth stability projects, student care, as well as projects to achieve women’s economic security. Therefore, it is imperative to expand the concept of social care to include the needs of different groups in society, and to activate social and economic intervention programs that achieve a great social return. 

–  exploitation of wealth and natural resources:   Failure to exploit the wealth and natural resources, and the loss of equity in the distribution of revenue to society, to the weakening of the economic situation of the state, and refers to the low capacity of strategic, political and economic. There are countries that did not exploit their wealth despite their desperate need for them, and there are other countries that exploited some of their wealth, but were unable to achieve justice in distributing revenues and incomes in an adequate manner, which led to high unemployment rates, poverty rates and low standards of living. The United Nations report for the year 2009 indicated that the (fictional) oil wealth of some Arab countries gives a misleading picture of the economic conditions of these countries, because it conceals the structural weaknesses in many Arab economies, and the resulting destabilization of the economic security of states and citizens alike. .

Justice and equal opportunities:  Recent studies emphasize the importance of justice and equal opportunities to advance development and raise living standards. The World Bank’s 2006 World Development Report, titled “Equity Fosters Power of Growth for Poverty Reduction,” emphasizes that equity must be an integral part of any successful strategy for poverty reduction anywhere in the developing world. There is no doubt about the importance of achieving justice and equal opportunities, as the economy grows and develops when most of the population has the tools necessary to share in the benefits resulting from economic growth, and for this, development strategies should aim at reducing inequality in opportunities, and thus achieving equality and improving efficiency and justice.

The division of countries in terms of degrees of economic security

When looking at the degrees of economic security, it is possible to divide the countries into four groups:

1- Determinants of steps (and those with good policies, institutions, and results).

2- Realists (good results despite unskilled or influential policies and institutions).

 3- Traditionalists (policies and institutions look good, but the results are not effective). 

4- Countries that need a lot of work (weak or no policies and institutions, low or weak results).

Achieving economic security through economic development

But the question is: How do we meet the need for people’s economic security? In fact, economic security and social security cannot be achieved without success in achieving sustainable economic development through:

Improving and increasing standards of living and improving people’s quality of life.

Providing job opportunities and ensuring equal access to jobs and incomes.

Creating effective systems and networks for economic security and social solidarity.

– Developing the skills of the work force through continuous training and qualification so that this force can keep pace with any development in the country’s economy, and perhaps we have seen how unemployment increased in the economies of the third world countries when they shifted to market economies, as the low skills of workers laid off from the public sector did not help them enter the market Work again.  

The realization of these basic elements requires concerted action on the part of three bodies: the government, the private sector, and individuals. 

Economic security is a basic requirement of individuals and nations, peoples and societies, and achieving it is the concern of states – all states have become an exception – in their governmental policies, and it is one of the important pillars of the national security system, as national security is achieved by achieving: political, social, health, cultural, environmental, and other security. One of the types of security, the most important of which is economic security. One cannot imagine a stable and secure society without feeling its economic security that provides it with a decent living and economic and social well-being, away from fear and immediate and future threats.

Sources and references:

Dr. Ahmed Alou, A reading of the concept of economic security and its role in guiding national policies and strategies, an article published in the Algerian Encyclopedia of Political and Strategic Studies, September 12, 2018.

Idris Attia, Challenges of Algerian Economic Security in the Light of Globalization, Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, Volume 20, Issue 02, University of Batna, December 2019.

Brahimou Issa Mohamed, Salah El-Din Ballou, Economic Security in the Era of Globalization, a Strategic Approach, Memorandum for Masters Degree in Political Science and International Relations, Faculty of Law and Political Science, Department of Political Science, Guelma University, Algeria, 2012-2013

Paul Robinson, Dictionary of International Security, Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, First Edition, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2009.

Zazia City, Petroleum Wealth and Arab Economic Security, The Algerian Encyclopedia of Political and Strategic Studies, July 03, 2020. 

Dr.. Abd al-Ilah Abd al-Qadir, Khaldi Suad, Economic Security Crisis Management in the Islamic Heritage, Al-Bashaer Economic Magazine, Issue 04, April, 2016.

Dr. Muhammad Mustafa Shuaib, Economic Security from an Islamic Perspective, Al-Bashaer Economic Magazine, Issue 04, April 2016.

Dr. Salah Zain El-Din, The Importance of Economic Security in Achieving Social Peace, Case Study of Egypt after the January 25 Revolution, 2011, Scientific Conference The Role of Law in Achieving Community Security and Stability, Faculty of Law, Tanta University, Egypt, April 7-8, 2014. 

Saeed Ali Hassan Qulaiti, strategic planning to achieve economic security and information renaissance in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Relations in addition to a Master's degree in International Security Studies. Alongside this, I have a passion for web development. During my studies, I acquired a strong understanding of fundamental political concepts and theories in international relations, security studies, and strategic studies.

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