"Isn't this a prosperous nation?"
What is a state, j asks, and it is a fundamental question. But the words we use may change the answer. Before we know what a state is I think we need to establish whose it is and in whose interest it exists.
The word "commonwealth" was used in the seventeenth century in opposition to "kingdom". It refers to that part of life which is shared and owned in common; it looks toward the possibilities of a participatory democracy. It goes further than "republic" because it sees the participants not just as citizens but as co-owners of the state. The Commonwealth of the mid-17th century didn't go very far but the debates of the period, as seen in the Putney Debates and the manifestos of the Levellers and the Diggers, show a profound sense of political responsibility for the state born out of that concept of co-ownership. The existence of that debate is possibly the most important thing that period in history gave us - because it reminds us of the human capacity to think, question and challenge in the interest of others and the greater good.
Today we are neither citizens nor co-owners by subjects - and that is how our government treats us. Compliance with convention is praised; to be anti-social is to come under the scope of the crimimal law. An idea of society is being imposed on us - but real societies grow and are made by all their members.
Perhaps it would help to think about how our sense of the state changes according to our relation to it - as subjects, citizens or co-owners.