The honor of the upper classes requires not only a courteous demeanor toward one’s peers but also noblesse oblige to the lower classes.
When the upper classes exploit the lower classes they dishonor their class and weaken the entire culture. The decline of the British empire, like the decline of the Roman empire, came from the degeneracy of the upper classes, not from any bad behavior on the part of the lower classes.
It was the institutions of exchange in Britain the Industrial Revolution fostered which undermined the British upper class' honor. (The question is what happened to the honor of the German upper class?)