Suffolk University Law School Professor Alasdair Roberts’ newest book, The End of Protest: How Free-Market Capitalism Learned to Control Dissent, is the first e-book to be published by Cornell Selects, the new digital imprint of Cornell University Press.

Alasdair RobertsIn The End of Protest, Roberts asks why there wasn’t more unrest in the United States and Great Britain as the economy declined, especially given those nations’ history of protest during economic downturns and the turbulence that roiled other countries.

“I argue that the two leading economies, first Great Britain and then the United States, have always been preoccupied with the job of controlling dissent over free-market policies,” Roberts says in a video trailer for the e-book. “Throughout history these two countries invented techniques for keeping the peace when the market economy hit hard times.”

Roberts says that strategies to avoid protest in recent decades include:

  • Weakening the organizing capacities of unions
  • Checking the mobilizing potential of new information technologies
  • Mobilizing bigger and better equipped police forces
  • Giving technocrats in central banks unprecedented power to avert economic collapse.

Roberts argues that these tactics have been effective in limiting protest. But he says that they have also changed the character of American politics and challenged democratic values.

"We've kept the peace, but we've paid a price for that as well," Roberts concludes,."

Cornell Selects chose The End of Protest as its first selection as it commences publishing concise e-books that will advance “provocative ideas and fresh viewpoints.”

Alasdair Roberts is the Jerome L. Rappaport Professor of Law and Public Policy at Suffolk University Law School in Boston. His books include America's First Great Depression, published by Cornell University Press in 2012.