In Hard Times, love itself can be a positive or negative emotion, regardless of whether it occurs between romantic partners or parents and children. There are examples of socially sanctioned and nurturing domestic love. There's also spiritually uplifting love that inspires better behavior and the improvement of the self. And finally there's disturbed love that overreaches the normal boundaries of the relationship.
This novel is actually a tragic love story, not a polemic about economic systems.
In Hard Times, the lower classes are emotionally more capable of loving and being loved, because they do not have the same kinds of distractions and opportunities that the upper classes enjoy.