I see little here about coercion made possible (even encouraged) via the legal system. I don't mean by the state necessarily. I mean individuals who use the threat of lawsuits to bully people into silence, saying what thay want, etc.; especially when the victim has little money to fight it. Or plea-bargains as a form of coercion (the most blatent example I can think of is the person who plead guilty to avoid a death sentence -- the jury was about to find him not guilty. A good example of how the system does not follow 'beyond a reasonable doubt' as it says it does: even though the system did find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and though he may be innocent, he is spending life in prison).
Jentleson, Bruce (1994), “The Reagan Administration Versus Nicaragua: The Limits of ‘Type C’ Coercive Diplomacy”, in in A. George and W. Simons (1994), The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy (San Francisco and Oxford: Westview Press).
Simple Liberty - What is Liberty?
Even those wishing to resolve conflict are affected by this way of conceptualizing power. For example, Ury, Brett, and Goldberg define power as "the ability to coerce someone to do something he would not otherwise do." While they acknowledge that they have defined the concept "somewhat narrowly," such a narrow definition cannot help but affect the way in which we design resolution and . At the same time, it is important to understand coercive power and to develop processes accordingly when it is operative, as it usually is in intractable conflict.
Songs and other folkways spread the word, both of specific atrocities and of the need to band together and withstand the onslaught of the hated foe. Often, the population targeted by coercive power creates more internal integrative power in response than they had before. The British exhibited this lesson during the Second World War. Hitler hoped he could break the will of the British by attacking civilian targets; instead, he created an entire island of warriors.To be effective, coercive power rests on the target's acquiescence. If I am willing to die rather than capitulate, your most sophisticated weapons and techniques are meaningless. Jimmy Cliff captures the sentiment and puts it to a reggae beat: "I'd rather be a free man in my grave/Than living as a puppet or a slave."[A]uthority maintained by coercion is ultimately untenable. If human needs theorists are correct, people have needs which must be satisfied and which cannot be suppressed. These needs include , both individual and collective; , for themselves and their loved ones; and recognition, of themselves and their communities.More broadly speaking, coercive power invariably involves a , that is, a situation in which either both parties lose or in which the winner's gain is less than the opponent's loss. At least two factors affect the final sum. First, there is the cost of the threat itself, which is that of making a threat credible. To use Dwight Eisenhower's oft-quoted statement, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." Boulding estimated that the cost of deterrence in the 30 years after World War II amounted to the equivalent of two full years of the world's productive capacity. When we expend funds to purchase firepower that will bend another to our will, we may not be spending such funds on other necessary things. So, even when our opponent capitulates in the face of our greater power, we have still incurred a cost. Rational calculation would demand that we compare the value of what our opponent gives us with what it has cost us to get it.