• On fundraising:

Saleswoman:  “…this is the first toy made for children, by children, with all profits going to children.”

Lisa: “Really?”

Saleswoman: “Well we’re all somebody’s children”

  • On donor decisions:

The Superintendent: “But I’m a public servant. I can’t use my judgment.”

  • On UN effectiveness:

Principal Skinner: “Do you kids want to be like the real UN? Or do you want to squabble and waste time?” 

  • On labelling the vulnerable:

Chief Wiggum: “OK, we’ll put the tired over here, the poor over there, and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free over there.”

  • On evaluators:

Marge: “Homer, it’s very easy to criticize…”

Homer: “And it’s fun, too!”

  • On age, gender and other biases:

Grandpa: “I’m an old man, no one listens to me.”

Lisa: “I’m a young girl, no one listens to me.”

Homer: “I’m a white male aged 18 to 49, everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are.”

Homer then  goes to the cabinet and takes out a can of food labelled, “Nuts and Gum: Together At Last”

  • On failing to adapt to a changing world:

Abe: “I used to be with it, but then they changed what  “it” was. Now, what I’m with isn’t “it”, and what’s “it” seems weird and scary to me.”

  • On simplifying narratives

Official: “What was the cause of the Civil War?”

Apu: “Actually, there were numerous causes. Aside from the obvious schism between the abolitionists and the anti-abolitionists, there were economic factors, both domestic and inter…”

Official: “Wait, wait [pauses] Just say slavery.”

Apu: “Slavery it is, sir.”

Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. […] By Jeff Chris Blattman linked to this article from Aid on the Edge of […]

  2. […] The Simpsons quotes for aid agencies. (Aid on the Edge of Chaos) […]

  3. […] quotes for international aid agencies. Ben Ramalingham. GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]


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About Ben Ramalingam

I am a researcher and writer specialising on international development and humanitarian issues. I am currently working on a number of consulting and advisory assignments for international agencies. I am also writing a book on complexity sciences and international aid which will be published by Oxford University Press. I hold Senior Research Associate and Visiting Fellow positions at the Institute of Development Studies, the Overseas Development Institute, and the London School of Economics.