Burton Malkiel on Low-Cost Index Investing
What I suggested in 1973 is that investors would be much better off if they had simple, low-cost index funds. But there weren't any index funds in 1973. The first one available for the public wasn't started until 1976, by Vanguard.
We have a lot of information about how index funds have done, as well as the typical actively managed mutual fund. I find that consistently two-thirds of active managers are beaten by the indexes, and those who beat the index in one year are not necessarily the ones who beat it the next year.
Over a very, very long period, sure, there are a few people who have outperformed the index. But you can almost count them on one hand. I still believe -- even more strongly than I did in 1973 -- that most investors would be much better off having at least the core of their portfolio in a low-cost index fund.
~Burton Malkiel interview in Smart Money (HT: Greg Mankiw)