Howard Zinn wrote, "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders... and millions have been killed because of this obedience... Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves... (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem."
I have heard that if people are fed, have a modicum of shelter and security they don't want to upset the apple cart. When things crash (like a big inflation rate or losing one's job) that's when people rebel. If the leaders can keep the people secure they can get away with a lot.