Let's assume a well diversified portfolio, shall we. Further, let's assume that Ralph set up a financial trust with himself as the beneficiary.
The naivety of some people always surprises me. The law alone does not protect your property (unless it is something like land) while you are away for centuries, you need to be around to lobby for your interests. Furthermore the law changes and there are major political upheavals over the course of centuries. Take your own country, it has been a bunch of British colonies in 1712.
From 1900 through 2011, average total return per year of the DJIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average) was approximately 9.4%. That's 4.8% in price appreciation and 4.6% in dividends. Below is the stock market from 1900 to the present.
About your picture, a log-lin depiction is easier on the eye and more informative when you deal with exponential growth.
I am well aware that long-run gross (not taking into account inflation and capital taxes) return on stocks is around 8%. (On a sidenote, bonds can very well beat stocks in the medium-run
when there is a stock market crash so only put money in stocks when you are sure that you won't need it before retirement.)
But you are obviously not aware that the weights and companies of a stock market index are not fixed but changed from time to time, i.e. it does not reflect the constant birth and death of companies. Strange that I gotta go all Schumpeterian here, I always thought you guys on the other side of the big pond are better aware of the dynamic-creative-destructive aspects of capitalism than we "Old Europeans".