It seems to me that whaling survived on a kind of double-romance.
On unicorns and white whales
nick barr

Responsible startups explicitly say “you will be paid less to work here.” Any rational person (with much more perfect information than your whaling laborer) is not joining for the prospect of wealth, or more than a spoonful of it. Love the analogy.

This is what strikes me as the fallacious base of Paul Graham’s and others’ inequality argument. Possible fabulous wealth is clearly not the motivator for the Zuckerbergs of the world. The prospect of shaping reality on a global scale in a matter of years, on the other hand, is a hell of a great whale hunt.