In the spirit of Gerhard Lenski's macro-level analysis of stratification and societal evolution, a theory of the economy is presented. Like Lenski's work, this theory emphasizes population and power as they interact with production and distribution dynamics. Macro-level social organization in general, and economic processes in particular, are viewed as driven by the forces of population, power, production, and distribution. For each force, a theoretical proposition is presented. Forces are all implicated in each other; the resulting set of principles provides a view of how production and distribution, as the core of an economy, are embedded in population and power processes, and vice versa. The end result is a more general macro-level theory that captures the spirit and substance of Lenski's models of societal organization.