In Hard Times, the key moral attributes that the villains lack are empathy, generosity, and altruism. For Dickens, these are the foundation of human relationships. There is no getting around them with any other quality, however positive. Those who possess these qualities are much better equipped to handle the world, however hostile it may be. Those who lack these basic ways to connect to other people are doomed to a lonely and miserable existence.
In the novel, the propensity toward moral behavior is inborn. It can neither be taught to someone who was not born with it, nor can it be untaught if already present in a person.
No one has the moral upper hand in the novel because even the most pure characters either have the desire to commit an unspeakable and selfish acts or have allowed highly unethical behavior to go on without any attempt to stop it.