I would first like to say a few things:
1) I have obviously not been in the sport long at all (180ish jumps, 1.5 years), and as such may very well not know what I am talking about. In addition, I can imagine that seeing a few of my friends/acquaintances die in the future could change my opinion. I'm also young and generally inexperienced with the game of life.
2) I just recently downsized to a 170 canopy, and without gear weigh 135 or so. Feel free to do your own math, but the way I figure it I'm just under 1.0 wing loading. I plan to jump this canopy for a couple hundred jumps anyway. My Dad likes to remind me that I should keep myself alive long enough to be doing this in 30+ years, and I'll have plenty of time to try high(er) performance canopies.
HOW do you change the culture? I really think this is key. Jumping at a small DZ where swooping is non-existent and small canopies are rare, I'm sometimes surprised by the culture that promotes rapid downsizing. When recently off student status and jumping a 240, I was once told I should buy a 150 by a much more experienced jumper (not at my home DZ). I laughed. I'm not sure if it's just me, or the people I started jumping around, but I have no desire to jump a high performance wing for many years. I think they are really cool, don't get me wrong. I might be able to handle it under good conditions. But looking at the major causes of death in the sport, watching a few videos of what can go wrong when the shit hits the fan, and listening to those with a few more jumps than myself, I'm not even vaguely interested. If the overwhelming perception of HP canopies in the sport was the same as mine, I think we'd have less deaths.
Adding regulations/licenses may help the situation, but as many others have pointed out there are ways to cheat past them if you really want to. Plus, those add 'transaction costs' if you will, in the form of time, money, and (depending on the implementation) hindering those who may not be part of the problem in the first place. The implementation is always the hardest part of a good idea, and I'm not entirely convinced that licenses/ratings can be implemented to control canopy downsizing in an effective manner.
To me if the community can figure out HOW to change the culture WITHOUT having to implement a licensing system for canopies, that would be by far the best outcome. However, this may not be possible. In that case I can only hope the USPA implements a well thought out system that works at large and small DZs alike.
I really view the licensing scenario as the last resort. That said, it may be deemed necessary to protect people from themselves. Cringe.