Many human societies across the world have collapsed or almost gone into extinction because of the scarcity of natural resources. Others however, have survived by either migrating to seek for natural resources elsewhere or by transition and/or adaptation to new environmental conditions. This narrative review paper examines how a society of Machakos District in Kenya has managed to escape from a potential collapse driven by natural resources’ scarcity. The review found that most societies in developing countries have failed to: (i) successfully repack natural resources management information into stories that motivate collective action, and (ii) invest in institutional improvement, innovation and technological changes through the influence of political leaders and economic elites. This paper recommends that for developing countries to successfully avoid societal collapse due the scarcity of natural resources, there is need to follow similar pathways like the society of the Machakos District in Kenya.
Key words: Natural resources management, developing countries, societal collapse, population growth, Malthus, Geertz, Boserup.
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