The article investigates the influence of moral principles on historically developing social relations. The appeal to this problem is based on a conceptual approach to the origin of human morality, which arises in the course of sociogenesis as a set of behavioral principles that provide the intraspecific cultural (non-genetic) solidarity necessary for human societies. It is noted that the moral consciousness of individuals, which regulates interpersonal relationships, is a necessary but insufficient means for transmitting moral principles. Morality is expressed in the relationship between society and an individual. Society solves the problem of reproduction of moral regulators, it brings them into the nature of social relations by necessity. In this regard, attention is drawn to the role of elite groups in solving the aforementioned problem, in particular, it points out the peculiarities of the formation of an elite layer in Russian history. The elite is the bearer of moral images of social behavior, which expresses the attitude to public goals, interests, historical meanings of social life. The task of the elite is the implementation of these principles in the nature of social relations. The egoism of individuals and social groups can impede the solution of such a problem. Overcoming difficulties of this kind can be achieved by an awareness of history, which provides the basis for public consensus. The article focuses on the ethos of the “spirit of capitalism”, which enters into the social environment through the principles of the organization of economic activity. The paper shows the relevance of the problem of interaction of economic ethics and moral foundations of society as a systemic whole.