Forecasts about 'peak oil', the limits of oil production, are the subject of controversies. 'Peak oil' forecasts are based on extrapolations of a priori chosen mathematical models fitted to field data. Scientifically that is not very sound. To clarify this point, in this paper 'peak oil' is modelled in a generic reductionist, approach, in which the conflicting dynamic between economic forces and physical laws are well identified. This model finds a natural interpretation just supress in a classical economic analysis frame. The 'peak oil' controversy is thus brought into the field of economic thought as a debate between classical and mainstream economics, in particular between an objective and a faith based appraisal about this historical event. The goal is not to improve forecasts about 'peak oil', which is very likely not a predictable event, but to propose an objective framework for the analysis of its systemic effects on economic production.