Coercion and Its Fallout

Revised Edition
By Murray Sidman
Cambridge Center / 2000
Paperback / 300 pgs

Do you use Coercion? No? When you have finished this book, you are going to be very surprised; you are going to know some things about yourself that you never knew before.

We use coercion almost exclusively to control each other; many find it hard to imagine any other way. The author asks, Does the death penalty deter potential murderers? Is harsh retaliation the answer to the discipline problem in our schools? Do the standard coercive practices work? – in law enforcement, behavior therapy, education, the family, business, the armed forces, diplomacy.

Behavior analysis has shown that they do not work. Coercion is in the long run self-defeating. Punishment eventually proves counterproductive. Sidman presents a rational discussion of matters in which emotions usually run strong. He proposes that what we have learned in the laboratory can provide guides both for personal conduct and public policy.