Within apocalyptic circles you get arguments about fast versus slow collapses. In fiction, to get the ball rolling, the apocalyptic writers tend to want to move things along and go for fast. Novels that talk about the slow destruction of an economy, the 1980s rustbelt used to be popular, are not usually labeled as "apocalyptic" but are thought of as situation-driven character studies.
My viewpoint is that we have had a serious leveling out, and gradually accelerating decline since somewhere are around 1973. You had Vietnam War Debt, which has since turned into everything debt, an oil crises that not withstanding a lot of fracking-hand waving seems to be back with us, environmental issues that have been shifted oversees, only to come back as global, rather than local problems, and the huge expansion of the global labor arbitrage issue - the 1980s had the shoe companies, now we have Doctors and Architects. There are other memes you could get into if you are in a gloomy mood, but one I saw recently and liked was the Old Economy Steve meme:
Old Economy Steve: A meme for frustrated Millennials
Daryl Paranada, Market Place, 28 May 2013 (hat tip: Big Picture)