DUSHANBE, March 4, 2011, Asia-Plus  -- The next meeting of the Tajikistan Free Market Club to take place in Dushanbe on March 12, according to the Tajikistan Free Market public association.

The source says the meeting is expected to bring together experts to discuss the problem of a minimum wage and social justice in the country.

A minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers. Equivalently, it is the lowest wage at which workers may sell their labor.  Although minimum wage laws are in effect in a great many jurisdictions, there are differences of opinion about the benefits and drawbacks of a minimum wage.

Supporters of the minimum wage say that it increases the standard of living of workers and reduces poverty.  According to them, it also motivates and encourages employees to work harder (unlike welfare programs and other transfer payments) and stimulates consumption, by putting more money in the hands of low-income people who spend their entire paychecks.

Opponents say that if it is high enough to be effective, it increases unemployment, particularly among workers with very low productivity due to inexperience or handicap, thereby harming lesser skilled workers to the benefit of better skilled workers.  Opponents also note that the minimum wage hurts small business more than large business and reduces quantity demanded of workers, either through a reduction in the number of hours worked by individuals, or through a reduction in the number of jobs.  According to them, it may cause price inflation as businesses try to compensate by raising the prices of the goods being sold.