Indeed, the block size debate did not stalemate. It resulted in the small blockists winning, due to the much more aggressive tactics they used (e.g. hiring a bunch of developers then asserting they'd all quit forever if the block size were changed).
Here's an example of the proud know-nothingness. The interesting part begins at 17:30. The speaker, Julia Tourianski, makes a fair attack against Mike Hearn for his departure, but then she goes on to point out that developers are faced with low morale because the community doesn't support their work. The conversation then moves to leaving Reddit and other media because "the trolls" (presumably persons who are in favor of a blocksize increase) have taken over.
Moreover it a red herring to assert that Bitcoin has to scale to support every single financial transaction in the world just like it would be a red herring to attack the architecture of the Internet because it cannot scale today to include every form of communication we perform today.
Red herring/ strawman / Nirvana arguments are the defense for the entire small block position. Bitcoin, like every other information technology, does not need to meet every need today. It simply needs
1. Sufficient free capacity to encourage growth, and
2. Continuous improvement
Maybe you should present the argument, since it wasn't presented where you said I'd find it.
It is indeed time to get back on track developing SPV!
Most large blockers are running businesses that depend on no/low fees, plus the reddit mob that goes with whatever argument sounds most conspiratorial (aka Blockstream sabotaging Bitcoin for sidechains).
I see that "the block size should not exceed 4MB for X=90%; and 38MB for X=50%", but I don't think that 50% reduction of number of nodes would be a serious decentralization problem (we've seen a similar reduction already due to the implementation of SPV clients).
Mining centralization could be a bigger problem, but with headers-first mining the block size wouldn't contribute to it.
Also the authors of the article assume the use of Bitcoin’s current peer-to-peer overlay network, that can be drastically optimized.
I've chosen 20x because Gavin had conducted 20Mb tests more than a year ago, before many optimizations took place.
There is nothing bad in the low fees. Low fees is the marketing strategy to boost the usage of Bitcoin and create the large enough ecosystem. Miners are being subsidised by bitcoin holders for a reason.
Larger the blocks while preserving a reasonable degree of decentralization -> lower the fees per transaction -> more people use Bitcoin -> more valuable the bitcoin ecosystem is -> higher the price of bitcoin -> mining is more profitable -> stable and secure infrastructure for the new global economy.
It is sustainable, but only for certain amount of transactions. Even if the block size limit stays at 1MB, I'm pretty sure some group of people/organizations will keep using bitcoin for something. Those who are not happy with it will move elsewhere, but there is so much infrastructure/tools/etc for bitcoin already, that many have will hard time switching to something new.
If most people prefer to use other crypto instead then Bitcoin may fall into a death spiral:
...lower the demand for bitcoins -> lower the price of bitcoin AND lower amount of bitcoin transactions -> less profitable the mining -> less secure the network -> lower the demand for bitcoins....
Thanks for bitcoinj though.